6 Essential Tips for Preparing Your Exotic Pet for an Emergency


We all love our exotic pets and take great care to keep them happy and healthy at all times. But what happens when emergency strikes? As an exotic animal lover, it is incredibly important to always be prepared for the unexpected. By preparing just four items ahead of time, you will have an easy way to ensure the safety and comfort of your beloved exotics in case of emergency.

1. Prepare a portable home

The first, and most important, thing to keep in mind is to be ready with a portable home for your reptile, amphibian, invertebrate, or any other exotic pet. If a disaster strikes, you will be able to simply grab your pet and your portable home and head to a safer place.

The portable home should be any kind of container that you can use to house your pet in a pinch. This could be a small glass tank or plastic storage tote, as long as it is safe for use with an “under-tank” heating pad – your second emergency item.

2. Invest in a heating pad

The best heating pad to use in this situation is a small “under-tank” heater purchased from a pet store for around twenty dollars. If your pet already has one of these, just grab it when you go. Do not worry about lighting, as a short period of time without proper light sources will not hurt your pet; only heat is important in an emergency.

3. … and a pack of instant hand warmers

The third item to be sure to purchase is a pack of instant hand warmers from a local grocery or department store. These are air-activated and can last for twelve hours each. It is important, however, that you wrap them in a paper towel in case they get too hot.

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4. Keep a roll of paper towels handy

The fourth and final thing that needs to be added to your emergency kit is a roll of paper towels, and there you have it! Store these four items in an easy-to-access location, such as a garage, mud room, or the trunk of your car. In the case of an emergency, grab your pet and your emergency kit, and head to a safe place.

5. Keep your exotic pet comfortable

Once you arrive, you will need to set up a few things to keep your pet comfortable. First, line the container with paper towels for your pet to rest on and hide under, and place a bowl or cup of water in the container with your pet. Any type of bowl will do, just ask your host for an old piece of Tupperware.

Next, if you have power, plug in your heating pad and place it under the tank to one side. If you have amphibians or certain inverts like hermit crabs, moisten the paper towels slightly to keep your pet comfortable, and put the heat pad on the side of the tank, not the bottom.

If you have no power, open one hand-warmer and rub it between your hands to activate it. Wrap this in a paper towel, secure it with tape, and place it inside the tank with your pet. Now put the top on your container and there you have it. A comfortable, safe, temporary home for your exotic pet.

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6. Prepare food

When it comes to these types of animals, food is not the biggest necessity during an emergency. Most reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates can go weeks without food, and not suffer any health issues. However, other exotic pets may need food daily.

If you are able to provide food, do so as you normally would. Otherwise, the only maintenance needed is changing the paper towels when they are dirtied, changing the water, and changing the hand-warmer if you are using one.

If you prepare ahead of time, an emergency can be a lot less stressful for both you and your favorite pet. The time you saved getting everything ready can be time spent getting out of harm’s way. This way, not only can following these steps save you animal’s life, but yours as well.