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Moving With Your Pet Reptile

Updated on December 27, 2007
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Whitney has raised and bred different species of geckos, snakes, lizards, tortoises and other exotics since 2003

So, you're moving and you have a pet reptile that you want to take with you?

There are a few things that you need to consider when moving with your reptile.

If you are moving out of state, you need to check the laws and regulations of the state that you are moving into. Some states will ban certain species. For example, in Georgia, amongst a very long list of reptiles that one cannot own, corn snakes, box turtles, and hognose snakes, all fall on that list. Because they are native species to the state, Georgians are not allowed to keep the species as pets. Many states do not allow venomous or constrictors to be kept as pets. So, it's best to first check to see whether or not the species you own is legal to have in the state you are moving to. If not, then you would want to either find a new home for the reptile or get a state permit to keep the animals.

The next thing you want to consider is how you're getting to your new destination. If you're flying, then you would want to check on the regulations of the airline.

If you are flying, or even driving, you can ship the reptile via UPS or FedEx, but again you need to check regulations.

UPS will ship live reptiles, but they do limit what they will ship. They WILL ship chameleons, geckos, iguanes, monitors, flying dragons, all freshwater turtles except snapping turles, land tortoises, and sea turtles. They will NOT ship alligators, caimans, gavials, venomous reptiles, or non-venomous snakes.

UPS approved shipping items.
UPS approved shipping items.

FedEx will not ship animals as a part of their normal scheduled services. They will not ship household pets such as dogs, cats, birds, or hamsters. They will ship if the animal(s) are going from breeder to pet store or zoo to zoo. But, if approved, FedEx non-venomous reptiles and amphibians.

have never used FedEx to ship an animal, but I have had reptiles come to me via FedEx. I do believe that the most common shipping service that I have used and that most breeders use is UPS in order to ship reptiles.

If you are able to ship via UPS or FedEx, you need to use a new box, marked 'Perishable this way up" with an arrow pointing to the correct direction. The reptile needs to be placed in a confined area such as a deli cup or cloth bags depending on what reptile you own. There should only be ONE reptile per cup or bag. You should use the overnight shipping by 10:30, so have plans to either be at the destination before that time, or ship to another address.

If you are able to, and you plan on driving to your new destination, you can set up a generator for the reptile. Plug in a heat source and any other husbandry requirements. This is probably only an option for smaller species, such as geckos.

If you choose to find a new home for your reptile, try online classifieds, craig's list, online reptile forums, and local reptile rescues. You can try posting fliers at petstores a month or so before you plan on actually moving. That gives you plenty of time to find a new home for the reptile(s).

If you are able to bring the reptile(s) with you, and they arrive safely at your new home, you want to set them up and treat them just as you did when you first brought them home, initially. That means leave the reptile(s) alone for a MINIMUM of 24-48 hours before you try handling it. The move may upset the reptile(s) appetite, and it may take a few days to get back on track, so don't be too alarmed.

Pictures came from Superior Enterprise.

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