“Common sense. Common sense. Common sense. And just a little bit of foresight can prevent so much hardship when moving,” says Kevin Fitzgerald, DVM, of the VCA Alameda East Veterinary Hospital, Denver, Colorado, who provided the following tips for safely moving snakes.
Ask Your Veterinarian to be Sure
There are 2,700 species of snakes. Although these guidelines apply to most types, you should contact your veterinarian to find out what would be best for your specific type of snake. This is especially true, regarding temperature and feeding schedules.
Snakes are cold-blooded, which means they rely on their environment to stay warm. When moving, you must protect your pet against temperature extremes. Check with your veterinarian to find out what’s right for your particular snake. But in general, the temperature for your snake’s home should be 75-80 degrees. To make sure your pet is warm enough, you can wrap him/her in a terrycloth robe or towel and then place him/her in a container. Check with your veterinarian to see what is the best way to cool down your type of snake.
Use a Thermometer
Use a thermometer to ensure your snake’s container is 75-80 degrees.
How Long is Too Long to Travel?
Even an hour of travel can be deadly if your snake is exposed to extreme temperatures. As long as your pet’s container is ventilated and isn’t too hot or cold, he or she should be fine during the trip. Just remember to stop to feed and water your snake as recommended by your veterinarian.
Water Dish Dangers
Make sure you stop to give your pet water and his/her normal diet. Check with your veterinarian to see how often your particular snake should be fed and watered. Never place a water dish in a snake’s traveling container. The water can spill, making the carrier too cold.
Choose the Right Container
When traveling by car, make sure you use an escape-proof non-breakable, well-ventilated pet carrier or wooden box that is about the size of your snake’s regular aquarium.
Provide a Hide Box
Travel is very stressful for pets and snakes are no exception. Providing them with a “hide box” can help them cope with the stress.
Lining the Container
Line the container with newspaper, which is cheap and easy to clean and replace during the trip.
The Right Container for Large Constrictors
Large constrictors (80 to 90 pounds) must have enough air, but should be contained during your trip. Put them in a large wooden container in your back seat – something that’s ventilated and easily cleaned with a sponge.
Most Planes Don’t Allow Snakes
When traveling by plane, you must plan ahead. Most airlines don’t allow snakes, so check first. Those that do accept snakes will have specific requirements for your snake’s carrie.
Health Certificate Required When Crossing State Lin
If your move involves crossing state lines, your pet must have a health certificate issued within 10 days of your trip. Authorities could ask to see the certificate if you’re stopped.
Boat, Bus or Train Travel
Greyhound Bus and Amtrak only allow service animals. Call individual boating lines to find out their requirements.
Never Move a Sick Snake
It is never a good idea to travel with a sick pet. Instead, ask a friend to keep him or her until your pet feels better, or ask your veterinarian where you can safely board your pet.
If Your Snake Gets Sick During Travel
Before you begin your trip, you should always identify animal hospitals on your route in case of an emergency. Click here to find AAHA hospital. Check the availability of your veterinarian for consultation. Bring a copy of your pet’s medical records or find out if you can access online records.
Mailing Your Snake
Never mail a snake.
Settling into New Home
When you arrive at your new home, move your pet to his/her permanent aquarium. Keep your snake in the aquarium for a day or two – without removing him/her – so he/she can imprint on the smell of your new home. Before allowing your snake to explore, make sure your new home is safe – without vents or holes where your pet can escape.