Caring for Your Reptile While on Vacation

Pet Sitters, Boarding, Traveling, and Vacationing with Reptiles

Spike - Bearded Dragon Picture
Spike - Bearded Dragon. Photo © Gail Altree

Your vacation should be about fun and relaxation, not responsibility. But that doesn't mean you don't need to think about your pet reptiles while you're taking a break from the real world. Reptiles need regular care, even if it's just checking in on them, and it shouldn't slip your mind even during your vacation.

Pet Sitters for Reptiles

Some reptiles need daily care and food prepared for them and others just need to be checked on periodically.

Bearded dragons and other reptiles that require fresh greens every day will need someone stopping by daily to give them their food but snakes and others that only eat once a month or so should be fine without a sitter if you're only gone for a few days or a week.

If your reptile needs to be fed insects you can buy them ahead of time and keep them in a small tank or container with food and water for your reptile pet sitter. This will not only gut load the insects for you but will keep them alive and ready to be fed by your pet sitter. Fresh greens can be prepared and packaged into small plastic bags so no preparation is required from your sitter. A full water bottle for misting and spare light bulbs in case your UVB light or heat lights burn out are also good things to keep on hand when you are out of town. Putting all your lights on timers is also an easy way to make sure they go on and off at the right times.

A detailed instruction list can be left for the sitter to reference and also contain emergency contact numbers, including your exotics vet.

If you don't have any close friends or family that are willing to stop by and care for your reptile consider asking them if you can bring them to their house for them to watch.

If you don't know anyone personally who is comfortable caring for your reptile check out Care.com for an experienced pet sitter near you, call your local exotics vet to see if any employees would like to make a little extra cash, or check with your local trusted pet store.

Boarding Facilities for Reptiles

Some dog and cat boarding facilities and animal hospitals will board exotic pets, including reptiles, for a nominal fee per day. Daily feedings, medication administration, soakings, mistings, and other needs can be delivered by trained staff but usually you'll need to transport your own enclosure and supplies to the facility. A simple phone call to ask the facility if they will be willing to board your reptile and if you need to bring your own enclosure and food is all it takes. Many facilities may be willing to board a reptile even if they've never boarded a reptile before.

If you plan on boarding your reptile you may feel more comfortable writing out instructions for the facility if you don't know them well or if they aren't familiar with boarding reptiles. You'll need to provide food, spare light bulbs, and contacts for your exotics vet (find an exotics vet near you) in case there are any issues while you are out of town.

Vacationing With Your Reptile

If you are driving to your temporary destination you may want to consider bringing your pet reptile along with you. Depending on how large your reptile and their enclosure is this may or may not be very practical. Smaller reptiles can be easily transported in small boxes (but make sure they stay warm while in transport) and then set back up in the place where you are staying. Camp sites and other places that don't have access to electricity are not good options for vacationing with reptiles. But if you are staying in pet friendly hotels (find a pet friendly hotel) or with friends or family that don't mind a reptile as company you may be able to take your reptile along on vacation with you!

Regardless of what you do with your reptile while you are out of town you should get a pre-trip check-up by your exotics vet to make sure your reptile is in good health.

The last thing any pet owner or pet sitter wants is to have anything bad happen to your reptile while you are out of town!