Bearded dragons are neat reptiles that many people love to keep as pets. One concern that may pop up is how to transport them in the car! For the most part, you shouldn’t have to transport your beardie too much, as they should remain happy and content in their tank at home.
When the need does arrive, though, we want to give you some important tips and get you prepared for all the items you’ll need. If done right, this shouldn’t be too stressful of a process, and you can get your bearded dragon to the destination with minimal effort required.
We totally understand it may not be so straightforward to ensure a safe trip together with your bearded dragon. This is especially so when beardies have such special habitual requirements. But fret not because we have compiled a list of 10 super helpful tips to achieve a stress-free trip with your beloved beardie.
Tip 1: Always use a carrier
You’re going to need to prepare a carrier for them to reside in. While some people can keep them in their original tank for the duration of the journey, this is unrealistic for most people. It would be best if you accounted for the distance you’ll be traveling.
Some people choose not to put their bearded dragon in a carrier for really short trips while traveling in a car. However, we don’t recommend this, as it could stress them out with all the movement on the road.
Tip 2: Ensure proper ventilation
You can get a small pet carrier fit for any animal, and it should work as long as it has proper ventilation. You can even use a shoebox with air holes. Please make sure you also think about their safety during the journey. You may want to line the carrier with soft towels so that if they are jostled around during the car ride, they won’t get hurt at all.
Tip 3: A small carrier will do
You also will want to think about the sizing of the carrier. You don’t want too much room in there, as they could end up flying around the sides while you’re driving.
Choose a small carrier that won’t give them too much space to be pushed around. Also, drive carefully! You don’t want to cause more stress to your pet than is needed, and if you are driving recklessly, that can end up hurting them more than you think.
Tip 4: Prepare multiple heat sources
External temperature is critical to take into consideration, as reptiles are ectothermic: they rely on external sources for their body heat. This makes them completely dependent on the temperature in your car, meaning you need to take extra precautions to ensure that it’s a safe environment for your beardie.
If the wrong temperature is present in the vehicle, it can be a detriment to their health, causing increased stress for the duration of the journey. Make sure you are doing all you can to make this the smoothest trip for your pet.
The carrier will somewhat impact how they are getting heat through the car. It would be best if you strived to keep your temperature around 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re venturing for a short trip, they should be fine as long as you keep the internal temperature within that range. Whether you are going on a short-distance trip or a more extended trip, there are a couple of heat sources you can use:
- Have the car heated before you transport your bearded dragon into it. Especially during winter, if you have a warmer, set it to around 75 Fahrenheit.
- The next one is a heat pack. You don’t want to use too many heat packs, preferably only one or two. You can wrap the warmers in paper towels and place them off to the side in the carrier. It’s important to remember to wrap the warmer in paper towels, as it could burn your bearded dragon if left by itself.
- The other thing you can use is hot water. Some people put hot water inside water bottles, which is completely fine, or you can make a hot water pack. You can soak some paper towels in hot water, put them in a Ziploc bag, and place them in the carrier. This is also only a temporary solution and should not be depended upon if a long trip is in store.
- Longer journeys will require some UV light to help them get their daily dose of vitamin D.
Tip 5: Substrate even for short trips
The next thing you’ll need in your carrier is some substrate, which is important in case your bearded dragon goes to the bathroom. It will be easier to clean when it’s in the form of substrate, and you want to make sure you clean it pretty soon after it happens, as you don’t want your bearded dragon to make a mess in their carrier.
Tip 6: Avoid feeding your beardie one day before the trip
The heating pad/water only provides a nice temperature for the journey but won’t help them with digestion, which is extremely important. Remember not to feed them until you reach the destination, as they don’t have a basking spot in the carrier.
Beardies can go one to two days without water, so simply give them water or a bath once you reach your destination. In the meantime, they should be fine during the journey.
Tip 7: Pack food to be consumed at the destination
You’ll want to pack some food for them, which can include greens, freeze-dried crickets, and mealworms. These are pretty easy to pack for the road, and the amount you bring should depend on how long you’ll be gone.
Pack a little cooler with their food, and as soon as you reach the end, you can go ahead and feed them.
Tip 8: Monitor beardie’s stress level
The other factor to consider is the relocation stress that may impact the animal. If it’s a short distance, it may not bother your pet as much, but longer trips do have the potential to cause some distress. Bearded dragons are not big fans of changes to their environment, so this may be a little unsettling for them.
- Before you leave, you can try to calm them down by giving them treats, rubbing their back, bathing them, and other ways you know will relax your reptile.
- Prepare some relaxing music that your beardie likes, as that will help calm your pet down too.
- As the bearded dragon is in the car, make sure you keep an eye on them. If they are experiencing any sort of stress, you want to be able to help them.
- If you can, buckle the carrier into a seatbelt, so they aren’t moving around a lot. This should help keep them calm.
- If you notice any distressing signs coming from them throughout your journey, you may hold them if you think it will help. If you know it will only make it worse, leave them be and ensure it’s the correct temperature in the car and your driving is kept calm and steady.
With these measures in place, hopefully, the bearded dragon should remain content.
Tip 9: Avoid direct sunlight!
Do not let the carrier remain in direct sunlight, as this can hurt the bearded dragon. It may get a lot hotter than you think, and the animal can’t adjust to the heat coming in from the sun. Make sure to have them in a shady spot, and never leave them in the car unattended.
Even if you think the temperature is acceptable, it may change while you are gone, and you are not there to keep an eye on your pet. This is not a good idea and could result in added distress for your bearded dragon.
If you can stop and take them out on a walk for a few minutes, this would be a great thing to do. Take them out of the carrier, put them on a leash or on your shoulder, and let them get some sunlight while you walk around. This is a great way to get them out of the carrier and out in the sun for a few minutes.
Tip 10: UV/ Heat Bulb for Longer Trips
If you are coming to a destination and need to set up a short-term tank, ensure you have both a UV and a heat bulb for your reptile. Having enough light and heat is essential to maintaining a bearded dragon’s life span.
You may be able to find a bulb with both settings, making it easier to travel with. Just make sure not to forget it, as heat and UV light are essential to keeping your animal healthy.
Make a list so that you can be sure you’re accounting for all the items that will be needed in your bearded dragon’s new home. You don’t want to forget something that is crucial for their environment. Set it up right away once you reach your destination, feed your beardie, and get them comfortable in their new home.
We hope you now feel ready and confident to make the journey with your bearded dragon. As long as you know what you’re doing, it should be a stress-free trip for both you and your reptile.
Short-distance trips are relatively low-maintenance, with the option of using a carrier. Medium-distance trips need to account for temperature and contain a reliable carrier, while long-distance trips need more equipment to keep your pet happy.
Make sure you know which one you need to prepare for beforehand, and you should be good to go. We hope you are now able to make any trips that you need to, with your bearded dragon right by your side.