Bearded dragons may have to visit reptile vets at certain periods and car rides offer the most convenient transportation. Many owners ask whether transporting these docile domesticated lizards in cars is healthy.
This article answers the question “Can Bearded Dragons Go On Car Rides?” by revealing whether road transportation poses any risks for bearded dragons and what precautions can be taken to minimize the problems if any.
Can Bearded Dragons Go On Car Rides?
Bearded dragons can go on car rides but must be placed in containers filled with substrates to cushion against bumps on the road, sudden movements, and even minor road accidents. The transport container should feature a heat source like hand warmers or heat pads to maintain the bearded dragon’s internal temperatures throughout the trip.
Bearded dragons are best left in their tanks at home to enjoy the right conditions for growth and well-being. However, car rides may be inevitable during specific periods like visits to reptile vets for treatment.
Some vets offer at-home services but the costs could prove prohibitive for many bearded dragon owners. Making sure that the adorable reptile stays comfortable throughout the two-way trip can be critical, especially during cold periods of the year.
Do Bearded Dragons Enjoy Car Rides?
Car rides could be enjoyable for bearded dragons as long as their owners undertake the necessary preparations. Short trips require putting the lizard in a carrier filled with substrates and a heat source strapped up via a seatbelt.
Long-distance trips should feature beardies in a tank or terrarium equipped with adequate heating and lighting in addition to substrates and other vital cage components.
What Are The Best Practices For Transporting Bearded Dragons In Cars?
Here are the best ways to transport bearded dragons via car rides with minimal risks of sickness, accidents, or other forms of discomfort.
No Feeding Prior To The Trip
Bearded dragons require hot temperatures ranging from 75 F to 85 F to aid digestion after eating. Since early morning car trips are likely to be conducted below these temperatures, we recommend waiting until reaching the destination before feeding the beardie. (Source)
Offering a big meal the previous day could mitigate extreme hunger in the morning during the road trip. The beardie can be fed after arrival at home to ensure access to the right basking temperatures to encourage digestion.
Choose The Right Bearded Dragon Carrier
Bearded dragons should always be transported in cars via carriers filled with substrates to cushion the lizard’s body against road shocks. The carrier should be small to provide just enough room for the lizard to move without flying around the sides with each sudden motion on the road.
The carrier may feature comfortable materials like cardboard or even plastic but make sure it offers proper ventilation to enable the reptile to enjoy healthy breathing throughout the journey. Avoid transporting the beardie in its original glass tank because the size could be too large for comfort in the car.
Besides, lifting a 55-gallon tank in and out of your car every time the beardie needs to be taken to a vet appointment is cumbersome and unrealistic. It can also be a source of stress in beardies which is why a small carrier is always recommended.
Fill The Carrier With Substrates
The bearded dragon’s transport carrier should always feature substrates to cushion its body against shocks on the road. Sand, wood chips, alfalfa pellets, and newspaper or paper towels are a few of the best substrates available.
Soft, clean towels could also be used in the absence of any of the substrates above thanks to their excellent cushioning effect. Besides, substrates make it easier for the beardie’s poop to be removed from the transport carrier immediately.
Offer Additional Heat
Additional heat sources like hand warmers and hot water bottles can come in handy for keeping the bearded dragon’s temperatures within a healthy range. Avoid switching on the air conditioner during the trip regardless of how hot the car may be.
During winter, we recommend turning on the heating in the vehicle to around 75 F to increase the captive lizard’s comfort throughout the journey. Additional heat is often necessary due to the cold-blooded nature of bearded dragon which makes thermoregulation impossible.
Hand warmers and heat packs should be wrapped in paper towels to prevent painful burns when accidental contact is made with the beardie’s skin as the car stops and starts, moves, and changes directions.
Hot water may also be poured into bottles for placement in the transport carrier but make sure the bottles are secured in ziplock bags because physical contact can lead to accidental skin burning. The carriers should be fixed with UV lighting during longer trips to ensure the right quantities of vitamin D supply.
Keep An Eye Out For Signs Of Stress
Stress may be inevitable during long car trips with bearded dragons and an owner’s responsibility is to mitigate the signs as much as possible. These creatures prefer stability and even the slightest changes could potential result in stress.
A few ways to reduce their discomfort during long journeys include offering treats and warm baths just before the trip to calm their nerves. Always keep an eye on the bearded dragon throughout the journey and do not hesitate to stop and offer cuddles when the docile lizard is found to be in distress.
The plastic or cardboard carrier should be securely kept in place via seatbelts to offer more stability despite the twists and turns on the road. Playing low-volume relaxing music is another great way to minimize stress during beardie road trips.
Always pack enough food to last the beardie throughout the duration of the journey and then some. If the plan is to spend 3 days away, pack an extra 2-3 days worth of food to ensure the reptile enjoys the right nutrition should the journey be extended due to some emergency.
Freeze-dried crickets, Dubya roaches, mealworms, and green leafy vegetables are great options for the road. Avoid trying new insects or veggies since the beardie may experience negative reactions like diarrhea and other forms of discomfort.
Offer Shade From The Sun’s Rays
Bearded dragons may be cold-blooded but direct exposure to sunlight could be detrimental in various ways. The scorching sun’s rays may get hotter than required which can lead to an increased risk of heat strokes.
Leaving bearded dragons under the hot scorching sun unattended could also backfire even if the sun’s rays may not be too hot at the time of leaving. The sun can get hotter in your absence leading to potentially life-threatening detrimental effects.
Always leave the beardie in shaded areas of the car if you have to leave them unattended for any reasons including bathroom visits. Also, taking breaks on the road by stopping for a few minutes to allow the reptile out of its carrier can be a great move as the lizard gets to enjoy some fresh breeze.
UVB Lighting is Non-Negotiable For Long Trips
Always make sure to setup a miniature tank with core components like UVB lighting during long trips on the road. The lighting and heating keep the bearded dragon’s internal temperatures at a constantly healthy range while ensuring the lizard keep track of day and night.
Several bulb options are available online and in local pet stores so finding a travel-friendly model may not be impossible. Long-distance journeys can be potentially more stressful which explains why a normal carrier just wont cut it.
How Long Can A Bearded Dragon Last In A Car?
Beardies can last for up to 8 hours in a car with owner supervision. Exhaustion and stress are likely to set in afterward so longer distances should feature breaks to guarantee the captive lizard’s comfort and stability.
Can Bearded Dragons Fly?
Bearded dragons may be flown as long as you find a reptile-frienly airline. However, make sure to read and understand the airline’s travel instructions and speak to their customer support before booking the ticket to avoid surprises.
There are a few commercial carriers that allow beardies on board but in the cargo section so it is not impossible to find one.
Conclusion: Can Bearded Dragons Go On Car Rides?
Many owners take successful road trips with their bearded dragons as long as the lizard is placed in comfortable environments. Short trips require reptile carriers like well-ventilated shoe boxes or plastic containers with substrates to ensure absolute comfort.
Long trips should feature bearded dragons in glass tanks with the necessary bells and whistles including heating and lighting to promote temperature regulation, circadian rhythm maintenance and core processes like digestion after eating.
Beardies should be monitored throughout the duration of the journey and be brought out from time to time to enjoy a comfortable breeze during summer road trips.