Maybe your kid’s bringing the classroom hamster home for the weekend. Or you need to take your pet cockatiel or iguana to the vet. But how you get these animals safely from one place to another is probably something you haven’t thought much about. Until now! Check out these tips on how to safely transport unusual animals in your car.

Small Rodents

When it comes to traveling with small rodents, preparedness is a must. That means having an adequately sized cage that’s comfortable for your pet. If their “home” cage is small enough to bring in the car, use that one. This’ll help your pet feel as safe as possible. If it’s too big, outfit a smaller, travel-sized one. Make sure to have enough food for the trip, and don’t forget bedding and any medications. Keep in mind that traveling by car can make some small rodents anxious, so keep the temperature moderate and the noise level to a minimum. Drive safely with your precious cargo!

Mice, Rats, and Hamsters

Transport mice in a small cage and make it homey with a place to hide or relax (like a toilet paper roll). Keep the mice in a darker spot in the car, like on the floor. Rats will need a similar traveling style to mice, but since they don’t get as skittish, they don’t need to be kept on the floor. Strap the cage into the passenger seat and let these more social rodents check out the view. Co-pilot for the win! Whether traveling with mice, rats, or hamsters, remove any water bottles from the cage to avoid spills. Pro tip: add a baby carrot or cucumber so your furry pal can hydrate. It may not seem like much, but one small vegetable can keep a hamster hydrated for 6 hours!


For your feathered friend, use a small cage for car travel. Small pets should never be transported in a box. A cage’ll help prevent it from chewing its way out, becoming stuck, or even getting loose in the car! Keep the vehicle at a warm temperature. If you live in a cold climate, warm up the car beforehand to avoid shocking the bird with a draft. And don’t forget to use the seat belt to buckle the cage in. That way, it won’t slide around or tip over during the drive. 


Since most reptiles live in large glass vivariums at home, you’ll have to use a special one just for car travel. Ensure it has proper ventilation but not holes big enough to get tails or limbs caught. Since they’re cold-blooded, reptiles can be a little more complex to transport. If it’s only a short trip on a cold day, warm up the car beforehand and keep it temperate. Try wrapping your reptile’s enclosure in a warm jacket too. If the weather is hot, do your best to cool down the car and keep your reptile out of the sun so it doesn’t overheat.

Regardless of the type of animal, if you’re planning on traveling across state lines, by air, or internationally, make sure to check all the rules and regulations for travel before booking. And most important, plan ahead — and never let your pet “roam free” in the car while you’re driving. Good luck and drive safely!

DIY hacks | Travel hacks


about Hannah

Hannah Fairbanks is a freelance writer living in San Francisco with her husband and 2 daughters. When she’s not writing, you might find her reading, packing bento box lunches for her kids, and making sure she gets in at least 10,000 Fitbit steps a day.