Natural Disasters and Reptiles - What you need to be PREPARED!
Emergencies and preparedness
Any emergency can be cause for an evacuation, the AC going out in your home, power going out during the winter, a fire, moving, construction, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and whatever else the 2020 + decides to bring to our table. Being prepared can save your animal's life. Watching the news and weather on a regular basis and having a tub full of emergency supplies so you can be ready at any time is the best option.
Basic list of necessities:
- Generator - for power (if available to do so)
- Gas to run generator and gas can with extra gas
- Containers with air holes for each animal individually - to transport the animals
- Large water jugs and cups for the animals - to provide water
- Spray bottle - give moisture and humidity
- Paper towels - for cleaning, substrate, insulation
- zip ties - for securing things if necessary
- Extra linen- towels, sheets, blankets -can be used as temporary substrate, cleaning, insulation
- Newspaper or bubble wrap- for insulation if necessary
- Animal safe disinfectant
- A propane stove with extra propane can come in handy to boil water
While most emergencies are short lived, some can be longer lasting. For those that are it is important to bring the food, heating elements and an appropriate enclosure so that your reptile can eat and digest food properly. It must be noted that reptiles are incredibly resilient and can withstand short famines, it would be better to not stress the reptile while it's being moved trying to feed it if it is a shorter time period.
Food and water
Calculate how much water you need, at least one gallon per person and animal, per day. Always bring more than needed and pack drinking receptacles for both humans and animals.
Reptiles are ectothermic, this means they need heat to digest. If there is no heat, do not feed. However for those reptiles like crested geckos that are more room temperature animals make sure to bring along their food and food bowls. For some natural disasters like hurricanes the feeder supply may be few and far between for a few months while things get back to normal, if you can culture your own feeders you will save yourself a BIG headache.
Container and Animal security
It is important to have an appropriately sized, safe, pre airholed, secure container for each and every animal you own, having them stacked and labeled, ready to go is even better. These can be rubbermaid containers, tupperware dishes, sterilite tubs, pillowcases, deli cups, cat carriers for the larger things. If you have many, putting everything inside of a larger tub can help with organizing them and moving them all at one time. Utilizing zip ties and pillow cases to give extra security for the wriggly ones.
Keeping your animals safe from the elements is the first step of keeping them outside, but it should always be an option to bring them inside. This is especially important in the northern regions where the winters are harsh. During 2021 the southern United States experienced a freeze like many have not seen before and it has taught us to be prepared for the worst, even we with the hottest temperatures can freeze over and lose power. Outdoor ponds and water features need extra care as well. The water can freeze and expand, breaking any exposed tubing and cutting off oxygen exchange to the water. For this we suggest using a de-icer, while it's not a water heater it can make the holes in the ice necessary for air flow.
It is always recommended to have extra supplies on hand just in case because you never know when they might be needed. Extra containers, heaters, bulbs, towels, water, dry goods can keep everyone prepared.
- Josh Halter