moving reptiles and amphibians

Moving Reptiles And Amphibians

Safely transport reptiles and amphibians when moving

cross country movers

Moving Reptiles And Amphibians

To some, reptiles and amphibians are unusual pets, possibly even dangerous. Without a doubt though they are considered exotic. These animals, like cats and dogs form a connection with their owners and companions. So when the time comes to move across the country, you will need to make wise decisions on how best to move these exotic creatures.

Prior To Moving Day

  • Make a trip to the vet no more than 10 days before your moving day to do a routine checkup and update your pet’s medical records. Make sure to get an extra copy of your records and a signed health certificate.
  • Check regulations with the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to see if you will need any permits or licenses when bringing your reptile or amphibian into a new state. Allow yourself enough time should you need to prepare and receive any documentation.
  • Keeping routine and feeding times the same is very important. There may be a lot of commotion and this sense of “normal” will help them to remain calm.
  • Having your reptile or amphibian familiar with the carrier in which they will be transported in is very important. Try to have them spend some time inside it. The carrier must be large enough for the reptile to move around, but not to large that it can hurt itself.
  • It is best not to have any items in the carrier, as they can hurt or injure your reptile while in transit. If you need a toy or object in the carrier, try to keep it to a minimum.
  • Having copies of your reptile or amphibians medical records attached to the carrier is advised. This could help avoid quarantine during routine transportation inspections.


When the time comes to pack your reptiles, crumble some paper into a foam-lined box. (Newspaper is not advised) If you can use a box that live fish are shipped in, that is ideal. However, using a cardboard box will also work. Line it with foam panels inside, both the sides and the top and bottom of the box. Make sure to poke some holes on the top end of the box, ensuring it has gone through both the cardboard and the foam liner.

To ensure there are no escapees, placing your pet in a cloth bag is recommended. The bag should allow for movement. Using twine or rubber bands, close the bag by tying it at the top. Fold the tied off section and overwrap the twine or rubber bands using masking tape or duct tape. Duck tape is stronger. Gently place the clothed bag onto the crumbled paper, and then add additional crumbled paper onto the top of the clothed bag. Your reptile or amphibian should have air, be able to move around comfortably, and have enough cushion while still being supported.

For larger lizards using a dog or cat style carrier is recommended. Block the holes with a lining of fabric on the inside and use towels to line the bottom of the cage. Once the lizard is inside the carrier, using duct tape secure the top and bottom parts where they join, and also tape around the gate.

Boxes and carriers should be labeled clearly on all sides:


Shipping during winter or in the hot summer is not advised. However, dependent on the temperatures, adequate precautions must be taken. Reptiles and amphibians are vulnerable to the temperature.

Venomous reptiles need to be transported inside a two-containment unit. Non-venomous reptiles can be in a single container. The containers must be well ventilated and made from a non-breakable material. It should also have adequate sized holes for ventilation. Some reptiles and amphibians need a wet environment, make sure there are moist towels in the carrier for the duration of the journey.

Moving The Terrarium

When moving your reptile or amphibian, you will also need to consider the careful transportation of their terrarium. It is best that when they “go back home” it is the same as when they left. In order to do this, you will want to keep anything that has been part of their environment.

For a local move, you can simply pad a box or wooden crate and place the terrarium inside. Prior to closing the moving container, make holes to provide air and light. This box/crate should be labeled FRAGILE and Keep Upright.

For Long Distance Moving you will need to take extra care and pack of the contents of the terrarium.

  • Any insects or other creatures that also live in the terrarium must be secured into suitable containers for transportation.
  • Remove and pack any decorative objects.
  • If there are plants in the terrarium, remove them and wrap or bag them making sure to protect their roots, stems and leaves. Wrapped plants can be placed in cardboard boxes with air and light holes. To prevent damage, fill spaces with crumpled paper or packing peanuts.
  • Use sealable buckets to transport soil, sand, gravel and rocks.

Place the empty terrarium in a padded box or wooden crate. Secure it and place FRAGILE and Keep Upright labels on the box.

Transporting Your Reptile Or Amphibian


Travelling by car is the best option. You are able to adjust the temperature accordingly, maintain a calm environment and stop when needed to check to see that everything is ok with your reptile or amphibian.

Cover your car seat with old towels or blankets and make sure the carrier is secure and away from sunlight. Reptiles and amphibians, like many other animals, will be calmer when travelling in the dark. Arrange surrounding items in the car so that they don’t block your access to the container and will not accidentally fall over, or on it during transportation. Knowing how to Travel Safely With Your Pet is advised. Bring extra food and water in case there are any delays.

Keep stops to a minimum. If you need to stop for the night, make sure you can take your reptile or amphibian with you, or plan ahead and find hotels that allow pet’s


If you are moving long distance, flying may be your preferred route. This way your reptile or amphibian will be travelling for less time. When possible direct flights are best. Airlines will take reptiles and amphibians only in cargo. If transporting more than one reptile/amphibian, each will need to travel in separate containers.

Your carrier should have all information clearly visible and accessible:

  • Current medical records
  • Type of reptile or amphibian
  • Photo of your reptile or amphibian
  • Temperature requirements
  • Medical needs if any
  • Feeding times
  • Your contact details: First and last name and best contact number

Check with the airline directly to review their regulations for transporting reptiles and amphibians.


If shipping is a method you are considering, you must ship Priority Overnight. Check out it is a very detailed and informative guide on how to ship and care for your reptile while in transit.

Arriving To The New Home

Once you arrive at your new home, set up your reptile or amphibians terrarium or home environment in a place that is calm and at the right temperature. Gently ease your pet into their familiar surroundings and continue their feeding and daily routine as it was prior to the move.

As exotic as these creatures may be, they still need the simplicity and warmth that their companions can provide.

Storage Locations

Los Angeles
5698 Bandini Blvd B.
Bell, CA 90201
P: 888-680-7200 Ext. 102
San Francisco
745 85th Ave
Suite L. Oakland, CA 94621
P: 888-680-7200 Ext. 135
New York
210 Meadowlands Pkwy d,
Secaucus, NJ 07094
P: 888-680-7200 Ext. 131

Business Hours(PST)

Monday: 8am - 4pm
Tuesday: 8am - 4pm
Wednesday: 8am - 4pm
Thursday: 8am - 4pm
Friday: 8am - 4pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed
Shannon L.
Shannon L.
Jan 5, 2024

Movers who packed my things up in NY were great. I was also very impressed with how clear everything was, how fast the move coordinator Eric was with getting back to me. Read more testimonials

Danielle Francisco
Feb 11, 2024

Terrific experience with Andres and his team. They were quick, efficient and very knowledgeable. Read more testimonials

Ria B.
Ria B.
Jan 10, 2024

Everything went smoothly with CA-NY Express Movers. They packed up my apt in NYC in no time, put it into storage for me while we found our new house. Read more testimonials

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