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5 handy tips for moving your exotic pets

5 handy tips for moving your exotic pets

Generally speaking, moving with a cat or dog is relatively easy. The former can be placed in a carrier, while the latter generally wants to sit up front for the long drive. But what about if you have non-traditional, more exotic pets like lizards, birds, certain fish, sugar gliders, ferrets, bush babies, tarantulas and more?

These pets may provide as much love and companionship, but they pose challenges beyond a traditional cat or dog.

"Many exotic pets require extra levels of care during a move."

Here are five important tips to keep in mind when moving with your beloved exotic pet:

1. Cold-blooded care
Reptiles like geckos, chameleons and iguanas have always been popular exotic pets. However, these cold-blood animals require special care when it comes to moving. They'll need a large enough carrier to stay in, one that allows them plenty of room to move but keeps them from escaping, especially if they're venomous. Temperature is essential, and most reptiles need a damp, warm environment to stay comfortable. Use towels to line the bottom of the carrier to achieve the perfectly balanced environment for your cold-blooded companion.

2. A fishy situation 
If you're a fan of fish, you've probably ensured your pet's comfort with a nice aquarium setup. These can be difficult to move and require a bit of extra planning. As a rule, you can put fish into plastic bags for any move under two hours; beyond that, they'll need a larger space, like a bucket, to move around in. Don't try to move a full aquarium; remove not just the water but also any rocks, plants or other decorative pieces. It's also important to pack away more fragile equipment like filters, pumps and heaters to prevent breakage.

3. Flying the coop 
Like cats, most birds are fairly easy to move: Just keep them in the cage in the backseat of your vehicle. However, your average macaw or African greys pose other issues. One is that they can have sensitive systems, and they'll need access to their usual food and water. Rather than bringing along a water bottle, which can be cumbersome, you should try for fresh fruit, which can be just as hydrating. Don't forget to bring along a blanket to help the bird sleep and prevent it from throwing food or other items through the carrier cage.

4. Documents galore 
With any kind of pet, there are certain documents that you want to bring along for your move. These include:

  • A recent photo of the pet
  • Your permit for the animal.
  • A health certificate, which is required for dogs, birds and most exotic reptiles.
  • Identification tag for dogs, birds and all exotic animals.
  • The animal's up-to-date veterinarian records.

All of these will not only help you in case the animal is lost, but are necessary when relocating across state lines.

5. True animal lovers
No matter what pet you're moving, you'll need a professional moving service that is committed to treating your dog or iguana with equal care. Atlas Van Lines is just such a company, with a long history of protecting your pet whether you're moving by car or by air. 

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