Moving Your Unconventional Pet

This post was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Noah Rue

We all love our cats and dogs! But let’s be honest, the “moving/traveling with cats and dogs” thing is pretty well covered. So let’s focus on another category here: the less popular but still relevant pets. So little has been written about moving with your unconventional pets out.

Of course, general rules of moving pets still apply. But there are things you need to consider that you maybe haven’t yet, so let’s journey through how to move with some of the most common exotic pets that are popular right now.


Despite the fact they were born to be airborne, birds travel better by car than they do by plane. So if you’re moving by driving, you’re in luck! It’s recommended that you leave your birds with a citrus or another fruit to suck on for comfort and hydration.

If you’re flying for the move, you may need to install a water feeder in their carrier though. Additionally, be prepared to use an avian harness so the carrier can be inspected.

In both driving and flying situations, you should be aware that birds are very sensitive to temperature and lights. Try to keep them out of the sun and be aware of how artificial light (such as that from your smartphone) may affect them.

Reptiles and Amphibians

For reptiles and amphibians, ventilation is key. Cat and dog carriers may be big enough to provide enough ventilation for reptiles and amphibians, but be careful that they don’t have openings large enough for small guys to crawl through.

A big area where amphibians and reptiles differ is temperature sensitivity. Amphibians especially do not do well in heat or hot weather, so bring a cold pack with you. Reptiles on the other hand need outside heat sources and you need to be very careful about creating the right temperature environment for them. With both reptiles and amphibians, consider humidity and the lighting of their environments, too, as those affect their health greatly.

Hedgehogs and Hamsters

Moving small critters – like hedgehogs, hamsters, and other rodents – is probably a bit easier than moving a bird, reptile, or amphibian. For instance, you don’t typically have to be as concerned about temperature, though do use common sense – don’t let things get too hot or too cold. However you do need to be careful as they are very small and delicate to carry around, so travel cautiously .

Make sure their carrier is equipped for them to sleep and use the bathroom. If you’re moving by plane, hamsters can actually fly in the main cabin with their owners. Hedgehogs typically have to fly separately, as checked baggage. However, airlines that let you check an animal will keep the cargo area at the same temperature. If you’re doing a shorter flight on a smaller plane this may not be the case, so check with the airline provider before setting out to fly.


Rabbits are cold, and you need to keep them cold. If you’re driving cross country, do not leave them in the car overnight if it’s warm outside, even with the windows open. Rather, bring them with you to keep them at a good temperature. Make sure your rabbit has fresh, clean water and hay to nibble on.

Flying with a rabbit can be a hassle because so few airlines allow them. However, remember to keep leafy vegetables in the carrier with plenty of blankets if you are able to fly with them. you’ll also need to find out if you can have the carrier as a carry on or if you have to check your rabbit as baggage.

What has your experience moving with exotic pets been? Let us know by e-mail to PGAA

Noah Yarnol Rue is always looking where his next trip will take him . When he’s not traveling the world, he’s writing articles on the new things he learns. Noah also enjoys a good meme from time to time. You can find Noah on LinkedIn.