With the holidays coming up, lots of people are preparing to travel. But what do you do with your pets? It’s pretty easy to find a sitter for a cat or dog, but reptiles are another story.

In this blog, we’re discussing reptile holiday care. Should you bring them with you, or leave them at home? Do you need to hire a sitter?

Let’s get into it!

Should They Stay or Should They Go With?

It can be hard to leave our pets at home for the holidays. After all, they are a part of the family!

But it’s important to remember that our animals can be stressed by changes in their routine. When deciding whether or not to travel with your reptile, keep in mind what’s best for them. Below are some questions you can ask yourself to help make the decision.

  • How far are you traveling? If you’ll be driving just a few hours, it may be fairly easy to keep your reptile in a carrier for the drive. But if it takes 6 or more hours to get to your destination, it may be a stressful trip for them.
  • How long will you be gone? Traveling multiple times within a short time can put unnecessary stress on your reptile. If it’s a short trip, they may be happier staying home.
  • Is your reptile used to adventures? You know your pet best. Do you think traveling would be hard for them? Or are they used to going places with you?
  • How much space will they take? Some reptiles take up a lot of space. Remember, if you bring them with you, all their stuff has to come too. Do you have space in your car? What about at your destination?
  • Where are you staying? Take into consideration who you are staying with. Some hotels don’t allow pets. If you’re staying with family or friends, be sure to discuss your reptile holiday care plans with them before you show up at their door with your scaly friend in tow. As cute as we think they are, not everyone is comfortable with a lizard or snake in their house.
  • What are your holiday plans? As much as you love your reptile, remember that vacation life can get busy! And it’s not selfish to want to enjoy your adventure to the max. Will you honestly have time to care for your pet properly? Or will having to take time out of your vacation for reptile care actually take away from your holiday experience?

If you decide it’ll be safe and fun to bring your reptile with you, great! Enjoy your holiday together and take lots of pictures.

If you think your reptile would be better off at home, it’s time to figure out your reptile vacation care plan.

Determining the Level of Reptile Holiday Care You Need

An image of someone circling day 12 on a calendar.
Once you know how long you’ll be gone and how often your reptile needs to be checked on, you can look for someone to watch your pet.

One thing to keep in mind is how much care your reptile needs on a daily or weekly basis. For example, bearded dragon holiday care will be much more involved than, say, snake care. And younger reptiles will need more care than adults.

Once you know how often someone will need to check in on your reptile, it will become much easier to find someone to watch your pet. Maybe you have a friend or neighbor who can stop by a couple times a week.

But what if your reptile needs daily care? If you don’t know anyone who has the time (or is willing) to check on your reptile that often, hiring a pet sitter may be your best option.

Hiring a Sitter

So, you’ve reviewed all your options and decided to hire a sitter for your reptile holiday care needs.

Your next step is finding a reliable reptile sitter. Luckily, we have the internet! Sites like petsitter.com are a great resource for finding experienced reptile sitters.

Other ways to find reptile holiday care sitters include local boarding services, Facebook groups, or you can ask your vet if they know anyone who can look after your reptile while you’re gone.

Once you’ve found a reptile sitter, we suggest introducing them to your reptile before you leave. This gives your sitter a chance to see their routine and ask questions. Your reptile may also be more comfortable with them while you’re gone if they first met them with you there.

Preparing to Leave

It’s almost time to leave for your vacation! Are you excited?

Before you go, there are a few things you’ll need to prepare for your reptile.

  1. Set Up Automatic Timers. If they aren’t already, set your reptile’s lights on automatic timers.
  2. Double Check Lights. If you haven’t recently replaced their bulbs, double check your lights to make sure they’re in good condition. Also consider having back-up bulbs on hand so your sitter can switch them out if they need to.
  3. Meal prep. Prepare your reptile’s food ahead of time to make feeding easy for your sitter. Salads can be portioned out in labeled containers in the fridge. Consider leaving your sitter insects that don’t jump or fly, like superworms, dubia roaches, or black soldier fly larvae. Providing gloves and/or tweezers will likely be appreciated!
  4. Clean their enclosure. Don’t expect your reptile sitter to deep clean their tank while you’re gone. Make sure your reptile’s enclosure is freshly cleaned before you go.
  5. Write down everything. Even if you go over the routine with your sitter in person, be sure to write down anything important (like not to turn off the lights, or to remove uneaten insects). Include their feeding schedule, spot cleaning instructions, and your contact info in case they have questions. Also consider labeling everything they will need.

Food For the Holidays

Need feeder insects for the holidays? Dubia roaches are a great option. 

Dubias are slow growing, so they won’t get too big too fast. They are hardy, so it’s not hard to keep them alive (even while you’re gone). Most reptiles go crazy for them. And, they’re affordable! Take a look at our selection of dubia roaches for your reptile holiday care needs.