Bearded dragons are not typically portable animals, but there may be times when you need to travel with your pet lizard.
Whether your bearded dragon needs a quick trip to the vet or you are taking it with you on vacation, it is important to keep your beardie safe and comfortable.
So, how do you safely travel with a bearded dragon?
To keep your bearded dragon safe while traveling, place the reptile in a well-ventilated portable enclosure with a secure lid and use hand warmers to prevent cold temperatures. Line the enclosure with soft towels to prevent injury to your bearded dragon.
Avoid sudden movements and drive smoothly, so you do not cause your beardie any undue stress.
Beardie road trips do not have to be stressful as long as you prepare ahead of time.
Read on for more details on how to keep your bearded drag safe while traveling.
How To Transport A Bearded Dragon
At some point, you will need to transport your exotic pet, whether your traveling somewhere or simply going to the vet.
Going about this the wrong way can harm your bearded dragon’s health.
It is important to only take a healthy beardie on extended road trips.
The stress from travel could exacerbate a sick bearded dragon’s illness.
You need to know how to go about this safely.
Regarding moving or transporting the pet, here is some advice on carrying a bearded dragon.
You need to decide if you will take the tank to the destination.
If the trip is short, you don’t need one, or a small 20-gallon one will do for a small amount of time.
For longer trips, you need to find the space to fit the full-sized enclosure.
Be sure to include a heat bulb to maintain comfortable temperatures in the enclosure.
A mercury vapor bulb is great for travel because this type of bulb emits heat and UV light.
This eliminates the need to bring separate bulbs and fixtures.
Use a simple substrate like paper towels or reptile carpet, so cleanup is easy when you are packing things up at the end of your trip.
The vacation tank does not have to be an exact replica of your beardie’s home tank, but making your pet comfortable will avoid any additional relocation stress.
Bearded Dragon Carriers
You do need an actual carrier for the time spent in the bus or car.
In general, the carrier needs to fit the whole reptile easily.
It also needs to have soft walls to prevent injury and be insulated to retain heat.
Ensure the carrier is well-ventilated so your beardie is able to breathe.
The carrier must also be secure, as a beardie escape may be very dangerous for your pet and extremely worrisome for you.
On your journey, your bearded dragon may go to the bathroom.
The last thing you want to do after getting everything ready is to have to deal with a mess.
Cheap and easy substrate/bedding, such as a paper towel or reptile carpet, would work great as a substrate for travel.
Bring some extra towels with you if you need to replace a soiled one.
If you’re going to the vet, you may not need to bring food.
But if it’s an overnight stay, this may be a good idea.
Greens keep easily and travel well.
A live feeder insect is slightly more difficult, but freeze-dried insects like crickets can do the job just fine.
Be careful not to feed your beardie too many freeze-dried crickets.
This type of food may cause impaction in a bearded dragon if fed too often.
Live waxworms or roaches are also good options and are easier to travel with than crickets.
Also, bring snack mixes.
You may also need heat pads or warmers to control the vehicle’s temperature.
Warmer temperatures are vital for your beardie’s digestive system and prevent the reptile from becoming ill.
A comfortable temperature for your beardie ranges from 70-90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C).
Bring your car to a reasonable temperature before leaving with your bearded dragon in tow if it is very hot or cold outside.
Regularly monitor your bearded dragon during long road trips, and bring a thermometer to check the enclosure temperature every time you stop for food, gas, or restroom breaks.
It is crucial to keep your beardie warm during travel, so bring extra hand warmers for extended trips.
Tape the heat pad to the top of the carrier and cover it with a towel or cloth.
This prevents accidental burning.
A small microfiber towel will also work to maintain carrier temperatures if you do not have a heat pack.
Simply soak the towel in warm water, wring it out, fold it, and place it in a plastic bag with a little bit of air.
The air in the bag keeps the microfiber towel warm for a while and provides extra cushioning when you place the bag underneath the dry towel in the carrier.
If ambient temperatures are 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C) or above, a heat pack will not be necessary.
Traveling With A Bearded Dragon Checklist
For longer trips, you’ll need a lot more gear in addition to the items required for the transports mentioned above.
For more information on traveling on a plane, read the next section.
Here is the checklist in short.
Read on for more details on each item not covered above.
- Water bowl
- Cleaning supplies
- Lizard Leash
- UVB light
- The phone number for the vet at your destination
Naturally, for those traveling with bearded dragons, you need a way to give them water.
Even though beardies get most of their hydration from their food, they still need to drink.
Unlike many animals, they struggle to drink water pouring at them.
In your tank, you probably have a shallow water bowl for them to drink a little at a time.
Just take this or another shallow water bowl, and you’ll be fine.
For longer trips, the enclosure is going to need some cleaning.
Be sure to pack all your cleaning needs or be prepared to run out and buy more when you arrive at your destination.
Bearded dragons can run fast, and they do this if they feel threatened.
Further Reading: How fast do bearded dragons run?
On trips, you will want to let your pet out to stretch its legs.
But if you don’t have a harness, it may bolt when a cat, dog, or squirrel comes nearby.
Then, you’re going to spend a long time searching and chasing.
UV Basking Light
A good basking light is necessary whenever you stop somewhere with power.
One of the biggest dangers of traveling with bearded dragons is a lack of UV radiation.
A basking lamp is a must if you don’t want them to develop any deficiencies.
Further Reading: Best basking bulbs and lights for bearded dragons
Bearded dragons need stimulation, just like any other animal.
For them, this comes from their furniture.
Logs to hide in and climb, hammocks to lounge on, and rocks to push and rest on are just a few examples.
Grab a few pieces to take with you so your pet has something to do while traveling.
One of the best thermometers is essential when traveling.
A good one will tell you if the temperature is dipping too much for your pet.
Maintaining a warm body temperature in your beardie is crucial for digestion and prevents illness.
Remember, bearded dragons come from the Australian desert and need the heat!
Further Reading: Best thermometer options for bearded dragons
Phone Number For The Vet
Despite your best efforts, something may happen to your bearded dragon on the trip.
Or, something may happen to it after you arrive.
Further Reading: Setting up care for your bearded dragon while on vacation
Being prepared in an emergency is not only convenient for you when you arrive, but it may also save your beardy’s life!
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Can I Take My Bearded Dragon On A Plane?
It depends on the airline, but yes, you are allowed to take your bearded dragon on a plane.
It’s not easy, and you would probably be better off leaving it at home with a friend or using a service.
Follow the steps, and your bearded dragon can make it safely on the trip.
Check For Cabin Carry
The first thing to check is if the airline even allows live animals on the flight.
Many do not.
Then, you need to check if the airline allows you to keep the pet in the cabin with you as a carry-on.
Checking the pet in as cargo is potentially hazardous.
Often, these places are unpressurized and unheated, which can cause your pet to die quickly.
If the cargo is heated and pressurized, consider it, but it’s still much less than ideal.
Check The Destination Permission
If you’re traveling to another country or state, laws may affect your pet’s legality.
Some areas prohibit bringing pets in, while others don’t approve of bearded dragons being kept in captivity.
Do a little research about your destination beforehand to avoid getting in trouble and losing your bearded dragon.
Pack For Travel
Using the same checklist and guides we discussed earlier, you must get your bearded dragon ready for travel on the plane.
If you take our advice, you’ll always be keeping your beardie with you, so traveling will be similar to riding in a car.
However, one of the most significant differences is your lack of control over the temperature.
While a bearded dragon can survive 24 hours above 65° degrees Fahrenheit (18 ° C), it helps keep the reptile warm with heating pads or hand warmers in the carrier.
Further Reading: Bearded dragons and how much heat they need
Label/Prep The Carrier
Airports are crazy.
There are many people, flights get moved, and you may find yourself sprinting across the airport last minute to catch a flight.
No matter how much you love your pet, there’s always a chance it gets left somewhere.
On the carrier, make sure you clearly label your name and some form of contact information to be reached in case of an emergency.
Pro-tip: If you don’t want to use your phone number, consider one of these alternatives:
- Your vet’s phone number (with permission)
- A Google Voice alternate number
Consider An Alternative Option
Even though this may not seem like too much trouble, most flights won’t allow you to carry your pet with you.
You may find it challenging to get it all done on top of your luggage and trip planning.
On top of this, airports and flying are noisy, lights change often, and there are many people.
All of these things cause high stress on your pet.
If you don’t need to bring the beardy, maybe leave it home.
Or, at the very least, consider using a pet shipping service so you meet the pet at your destination.
Now you know how to travel with a bearded dragon.
The key points to remember are to plan, keep the dragon warm and secure, and have contacts ready just in case.
Traveling by car is much simpler, but going by airplane is possible with the proper precautions.