Reptile Evacuation


I was just wondering if anybody has any evacuation tips. I currently have 2 corn snakes, a milk snake, a hognose, and a crested gecko. I live in the mountians and there is currently a wildfire getting close to my town so I want to be prepared for these emergencies. Right now I am using plastic shoe boxes that i found on amazon as their temporary homes, but I was wondering if anybody had any other ideas or suggestions of good products out there.

Thanks in advance!


Welcome to the forum!

I keep a bunch of long-lasting heat packs on hand for any time the power goes out or there’s an emergency. I currently only have terrestrial geckos, and they each have individually labeled travel ‘pods,’ with air holes. Then the pods all fit inside a large tub (also with air holes), with space for the heat packs. The tub fits inside my car. It’s how I traveled with all my geckos cross-country of the USA when I moved.


That looks like a great setup! How long do you think geckos can stay in temporary bins like this? My snakes don’t seem to care but my gecko has been jumping all over the place in his bin. I’m wondering if I should get him something a little larger.


Having been a Fire Evacuee in CA in 2003, I feel for you. I hope you stay safe!

Emily on Snake Discovery on youtube did a good video about how to pack a grab-n-go bin for reptiles and that’s what I’ve based mine on. At the moment my baby snake is living in it, because he is so small right now, but eventually it will become his emergency bin, with ready substrate, temp gun, betadine, hides, water bottle, chlorhexedine bottle, therm and heat mat, and so on. Everything I need to keep him for several weeks, besides meals. I suppose if I had to run I would try, if I had time, to grab his bag of frozen mice and the icepacks stored next to them.

I need to make a similar packed set up for my dog inside her rarely-used plastic kennel, tbh, just in case we ever gotta GTFO off to a hotel for any reason.


Thanks for the information! I have watched that video, I think I will watch it again just for more information, now that I’ve experienced it. My main goal was to have something that is quick and easy as I live on the second floor and I can’t be running up and down the stairs with multiple loads. I’ve settled on keeping snake bags in my aprtment and the bins in my car that I can set up after getting somewhere safe. But this is definitely a learning experience and good to think about for the future.


I live in a place prone to wildfires, so here’s what I do:

I keep a plastic tub of appropriate size filled with appropriate substrate for each animal. I have a supply of heat packs (like the kind used for shipping) for use if there’s no power, and I also have a few extra heat mats and cheap thermostats, so if I’m evacuating to somewhere with electricity, I can just throw those in the car and have heating elements ready to slap on the tubs and plug in rather than having to disassemble the heating elements from my regular enclosures. I also keep some extra hides so I can bring those along as well in case we end up being away from home for a while. I keep all this stuff neatly stacked together and easily accessible (right next to the cat carriers and chinchilla travel cage) in a closet so I won’t be having to run around gathering it all together in the middle of an emergency. I keep the heat packs, heat mats, hides, water conditioner, and thermostats in my “pet bug out bag” along with some necessities for my mammals. If I have to evacuate, I can just throw the supply bag in the car, then round up all the animals into their travel enclosures and I’m ready to go.

Since it sounds like you mostly have smaller reptiles, having some sort of bag or tub you can fit all the travel enclosures into so you can carry them all to the car in one trip would probably be a good idea. I only have two snakes, so I don’t have that, since I could carry both tubs to the car in one trip without it (although my mammals would probably require an extra trip or two, but that’s unavoidable).

I think the most important thing is to just make sure you have everything you need squared away and collected in one place ahead of time, so you’re not needing to be figuring out what to pack and having to gather it all together in the heat of the moment. Making a checklist of things to grab is also a good idea (not just for your animal stuff, but for your own necessities as well).


Same here, I have a medium size tote and two different size ones as my boas are different sizes. I live in Florida, so I’m prone to having a hurricane. I have extra heat tape, and an extra VE 300x2 if I need to provide heating if I plan to stay in a place that has electrical, but if not, I have heat packs (I am in Florida so heating is not usually a problem). And honestly because of my medical conditions, I would be evacuating far enough that there would be electricity, and pet stores that are open to provide food and other necessities, if need be.


Same. I have a chronic illness. If I gotta GTFO it’s going to have to be far enough to get to somewhere I can have a quiet private space to rest, and electricity, specifically climate control, since I myself do not do well in much cold or even slight heat. I have animal-intended hot packs in my bin in case it takes a while to get to somewhere with power. I also have only one snake and a little dog, which makes it all easier to move. It’s good to have a plan and know what you’ll need in an emergency.


Absolutely correct. We’re in hurricane country rather than fire country, but planning for possible evacuation is something we definitely do. If you’ve got any sort of animals, it’s important to have their emergency stuff in one place ahead of time. I have extra aspen to take along for the corn snakes. The “small bins inside a big bin” is definitely the simplest way to move them. It’s also a good idea to put a throw of some lightweight material with the snake travel bins. The throw can be used to cover the bins while traveling. Sunlight passing through the vehicle’s glass, then the plastic bins can quickly heat them to unsafe levels.

For mammals, it’s important to have vaccination records up to date and easy to grab. Many places require proof of current rabies vaccination to allow pets, and laws vary from place to place about what’s “current.” It’s hard to know in which direction you might need to go to evacuate, so it’s best to opt for the most conservative vaccination schedule. Have a conversation with your vet about this.

Another consideration, traffic during a major evacuation is a vastly different thing than usual traffic or even heavy traffic. Expect major delays. Expect hotels to be full, but also that many will allow evacuees with pets, even if they don’t usually allow pets. Try and make a reservation as soon as you know you’re going. (Some shelters accept a dog or cat, but that’s it.) It once took us about 18 hours to go a usually-6-hr distance. Travel with ample water for everybody, including humans. Have bottled water and/or water containers with your go-kit. Non-perishable food for all (except those who can safely go without food for an extended time, say two weeks) should also be part of your evacuation supplies. Just buy it and store it, don’t use it until you’re either on the road or through the season. During the danger season, whatever that is for your area, keep your vehicle’s tank at least half full and keep some cash with your go-kit.

I hope no one finds out the hard way that their plans for evacuation weren’t adequate. I hope none of us needs to evacuate. And if we do, I hope we all stay safe.


I think it probably depends on the species of gecko and the brand/effective hours of use the heat packs you use are. For the cross-country trip, I used 120 hour packs and 96 hour packs, which are not cheap. I have a couple of those with my emergency supplies, but most of the ones I use for power outages are 72 hour packs.

I do not feed my geckos during travel, as they require reliable heat to digest properly and the safer thing to do is to wait until they are back in a heated enclosure. Many other types of geckos (e.g. cresties) don’t need temps much higher than room temperature, but I don’t have personal experience with moving anything other than leos and AFTs.

This is definitely an excellent idea!


Thabk you everyone for all the ideas and advice! I’m going to work on getting everything in place. All these ideas have really helped!