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Disaster Tips: For Reptiles and Amphibians

The following items are recommended for inclusion in a disaster kit specifically for reptiles and amphibians. Prepare one kit for each one in your household. Since there are such varied needs different species of reptiles and amphibians, you should be familiar with your particular species to know which of the items listed below apply to you.

Food and Water:

  • A two-week supply of feeders/prey items if fed
  • A two-week supply of water, stored in a cool, dark location. Rotate every two months to ensure freshness. If tap water is not suitable for humans to drink during a disaster, it is also not suitable for cats to drink.
  • A two-week supply of pelleted food if fed, stored in an airtight, waterproof container and rotated every three months for freshness.
  • Food and water source for feeders
  • Baby food or fruits and vegetables stored in their own juice or in water, with a can opener if needed
  • Ice chest and cool packs to store frozen prey items
  • Calcium and/or vitamin supplementation if needed
  • Dechlorinator for water
  • Tongs for feeding
  • Water/food dishes

Baby food and canned fruits and vegetables are a great substitute when fresh produce is not available. However, avoid  those with added salt or sugar. Many reptiles and amphibians eat live or frozen/thawed prey. Consider the care and nutrition of the prey animals when making your disaster plans

Housing and Transportation:

  • Carrier or evacuation cage if your existing enclosure is too large to transport
  • Small enclosure with a secure lid for when destination is reached
  • Heat source
  • Thermometer/hygrometer
  • Supplemental lighting
  • Extension cords
  • Substrate
  • Hides
  • A hide box such as a bowl, box or flower pot that can help your herpatile feel more secure.

Most reptiles and amphibians can be transported in a small, hard-sided carrier, but snakes are normally more secure and safe in a knotted-off pillowcase. Bring your own extension cords to make use of power outlets, but prepare to provide heat without power.

Identification:

  • Microchip (many larger reptiles and amphibians can be microchipped; ask your veterinarian)
  • Photos of you with pet to prove owership if you are separated
  • Photos’ showing any distinguishing features of your pet
  • Copy of veterinary records

Health and Safety:

  • A two-week supply of any medication your pet is taking
  • First aid kit including antibiotic ointment, Betadine solution for cleansing and disinfecting, gauze for cuts and wounds, cornstarch to stop minor bleeding, tweezers and scissors and Q-tips. Ask your vet for other recommendations.
  • Appetite stimulant
  • Spray bottle
  • Paper towels
  • Bleach
  • Hot and cold instant packs
  • Snake hook
  • Contact numbers for your vet and a vet out of disaster area

An appetite stimulant such as Reptaid can come in handy if your reptile or amphibian stops eating due to the stress of the emergency. Spray bottles are handy for misting the enclosure to ensure appropriate humidity. Instant hot and cold packs are great for regulating the temperature of the enclosure during a power outage.

Cleaning and Sanitation:

  • Liquid soap for washing food and water bowls, paper towels, and disinfectant for cleaning crates and carriers.
  • Rinse all dishes/enclosures well, as reptiles and amphibians are sensitive to chemicals ingested or absorbed through the skin.