How to Fly with a Snake (Including Airline Rules)

Traveling and flying with snakes seems foreign and difficult but it is actually fairly common. But even if it is common how does it work? Plus do the different airlines have different rules? I searched for the answer to this puzzling question and have found some answers that I’ll gladly share with you.

So, how do I travel with a pet snake? You will need to package your snake in multiple ways and label it properly according to your airline’s rules on how you can transport your pet. If your airline will let you take it on your trip, it will be put in the air cargo section of the plane which is temperature regulated.

A lot of people like to travel with their animals because pets are a part of their family too. Now you need to know all of the “whys” and specific needs of the airlines so that you and your snake will be set to fly for your next vacation like pros.

Airline Rules for Travelling with a Pet Snake

How to travel via airplane with your pet snake:

  1. Put your snake in a pillowcase or pouch with enough room for it to comfortably fit and the tie off this bag (make sure the bag has ventilation holes).
  2. Put some heat (or cold) pads in a, preferably, clear plastic tub, also with enough room for your snake to comfortably fit.
  3. Lay some towels over the heat pads as a heat barrier.
  4. Put a digital thermometer in this box so you can check on the temperature as well.
  5. Place the snake that is inside the pouch inside this tub.
  6. Make sure to label this box according to your airline’s specifications.

You must remember however, some airlines won’t let you bring your snake on your trip, no matter if you transport it as checked baggage, in the cabin, or as air cargo. 

Only SOME airlines will let you bring snakes, and it’s only as air cargo.

Step 1: Find Your Snake a Bag

 When transporting your snake, you can’t be too cautious. You will need to put your snake in a cloth pouch as your first step for multiple reasons. They are ultimately all for your snakes best travel and safety.

One of these reasons is that your snake will need a confined place for it to stay during travel in case the box it is in breaks. This pouch is an extra precaution to ensure that your snake doesn’t get lost somewhere on the plane and even possibly die. Yikes!

Another reason for this pouch is to prevent from the plastic tub being mangled by your snake. Or even the plastic irritating or hurting the snake. The cloth is a soft layer of protection for your snake’s body. 

This cloth will also help protect your snake with a small bit of padding in case of turbulence. The extra padding will help protect the snake’s body from uncontrollably being rubbed wrong in case he snake bounces around during the turbulent moments of your plane ride(s).

Something to ensure is done, however, for your snake’s pouch is to make sure it has small ventilation holes for your snake to breathe. These holes should be small enough to not have a snake be able to escape, though. This bag should also be tied up tight enough that the snake can’t get out from that end either. 

Step 2: Make sure the Temperature is Right

The next step is important for your snake’s health. Now, we know that snakes need temperature controlled environments to stay healthy in their tanks. This doesn’t change when traveling, either.

Since you can’t bring your preferred plug-in heating system and your snake’s nice, perfectly set up and maintained tank, you will need heat pads or cold pads in order to maintain the right temperature.

You will need to place these pads in a tub with enough room to fit your snake and then some extra room just in case. It is preferred by airports and airlines that you get a clear plastic tub for your snake’s new temporary environment. This is because it makes it easier to check on the animal and inspect without having to open it up and risk the snake getting out.

Maintaining a temperature for your snake is gonna be a bit harder because of the struggles and temperature changes of traveling, but as long as your snake’s tub has a temperature range that is still safe for its species, it should be just fine.

If your snake got out at the airport, that would ensure an entirely new level of chaos and confusion. Especially since a lot of people don’t necessarily share your fondness for snakes! Uh oh!

You will need to really ensure that you have extra room in your plastic tub because there is more you will need to fit in it next besides just your snake and desired temperature control features.

Step 3: Protect Your Snake by Buffering the Heat

Next, you will need to layer a few towels along the bottom of the tub that you just put your desired temperature control method in. The towels are to save from burning your snake’s skin from the heat source or even cooking it alive.

These towels are a protective layer from the heat needed for the temperature-controlled environment. Without them your snake will be very injured or sick, causing you to have to take it to the vet or possibly just it dying due to its bad conditions. This problem would also result in a huge vet bill.

Snakes can detect the turbulence from airplanes!

Another reason these towels are important is they are used as a muffler from all the many vibrations and loud noises that come with traveling.

Snakes hear through vibrations so any and every movement or vibration they can hear, especially with all the many obnoxious vibrations or movements, and it can be a lot if not too much for your snake to handle.

By adding these towels, we not only prevent our snakes from being burned, but we also give them almost like earplugs to help them get through the flight a bit easier.

A note to keep in mind about your box is that it is important to ensure that it has ventilation holes as well so that your snake can breathe. These holes, again, should be too small for your snake to escape through, but enough to ensure that your snake is getting its necessary air. Also, make sure they aren’t drastically affecting the temperature of the habitat as well.

Step 4: Remember to Bring a Thermometer

After you add the temperature-controlling features to your box, you should also add a digital thermometer to it. This will help you remotely monitor your snake’s box’s temperature without having to open the box up which would also alter the box’s climate.

You will need to keep your snake’s environment no colder than 45 degrees Fahrenheit and no hotter than 85 degrees Fahrenheit!

These are just average estimations, but temperatures are going to fluctuate when traveling and it is at least a good safety guideline for your snake. But make sure to double check your snake’s temperature specifications to alter this guideline as needed.

By being able to check the temperature remotely, you can check it whenever you want and even where ever you want. You could monitor your snake’s temperature while on the plane when it is in the temperature-controlled luggage compartment.

You could also check the temperature in the airport without having to open the box and expose the box to climate changes. When you open the box, you alter the temperature of your animal’s temporary habitat because of the difference in temperature and environment you are letting in from the airport air and climate.

Another reason it’s great that you can check on your snake’s temperature without having to open the box at the airport is so that you don’t run the risk of a great escape ensuing ultimate chaos in the airport. That situation would scare everyone and is better to be left avoided.

Step 5: How to Pack Your Snake Comfortably and Safely

After you have done all of this mentioned above you may now put your snake, which should be in its ventilated and secured pouch, into your plastic tub.

Again, you need to make sure this checklist is complete prior to securing your pet in its box.

  1. Make sure your snake’s pouch is well ventilated, without risk of escaping, and well secured.
  2. Ensure that your snake has a well ventilated, without risk of escape, clear plastic tub that has the proper temperature control gear in place.
  3. Double check that your tub has about 3 towels (depending on the size of the box) to help protect from heat exposure and muffle the noise of travel.
  4. Have a good, functional digital thermometer set up to monitor your pet’s temporary habitat’s temperature.

After you have double checked that all of this is in place, you can set your snake-filled pouch into your new habitat. Make sure your snake has enough room to lay naturally in both the pouch and tub before placing and securing the lid of the box. 

Step 6: Be Sure to Label Your Snake for the Airline!

This next step is imperative if you are going to actually take your snake on your trip with you. So pay attention:

YOU MUST PROPERLY LABEL YOUR SNAKE’S CRATE WITH ALL OF THE REQUIRED SPECIFICATIONS PRIOR TO GOING TO THE AIRPORT!

You will need to ensure that your airline knows you are traveling with your snake prior to your vacation. It is best to do all of this when buying your plane tickets. Also, you will need to fill out all the necessary, if any, paperwork for this as well.

Again, everything depends on the airline and how they run things. Just don’t expect to be able to take your snake on your trip without first consulting your airline about their regulations on such matters and figuring out what you will need to do or provide for this transaction. 

The necessary labeling usually needed is quite understandable and simple though. The box your scaly friend it being transported in will need to be labeled “LIVE ANIMAL” so that the cargo loaders know what it is and where it will need to go.

You will also need to put if you own a venomous snake, a label that indicates the snake’s scientific name and a pictorial warning label so that people know that it is a very fragile box.

This is also why it is preferred that you get a clear plastic container. You will NEED a clear plastic container if your snake is of a venomous breed so that security can safely inspect it without opening up the box and exposing or endangering themselves and others. 

How Much Will Transporting My Snake Cost?

Usually, when bringing pets with you when flying somewhere, along with the regulations and paperwork you have to also pay extra fees. It can get super expensive to do so too, possibly as expensive as another plane ticket.

For transporting a dog or cat it usually costs about $250, but this isn’t including any fees from handling or pickup. That price alone is just the air freight fee. These fees will vary with how big your crate is for your animal and the airline you choose as well. It’s just the cost of taking your pet with you.

What Are the Airline Rules for Traveling with Snakes?

Most airlines do not allow snakes at all, for many reasons. One of these reasons is because snakes are an exotic threat to the population on the plane. If a snake escapes its crate, even if it is on a cargo plane, it is a threat to the passengers for many reasons.

It could slither its way up to the cockpit possibly and harm one of the pilots, go into the passenger cabin and cause chaos, or even chew through wires or something similar, resulting in possibly fatal outcomes.

A lot of people try to pass their snakes as comfort, emotional support, or service animals and the airlines just passed regulations and rules that make it so the use or excuse of your pet being a “service animal” has to be legit and have the proper paperwork signed and turned in and regulations to be passed as well.

Without passing these, you won’t be allowed to bring your pet on your trip. It is important to not abuse the term or title of “service animal” because if the airlines have rules against bringing certain species, it is simply for the safety of everyone on the plane including yourself.

Related Questions:

Can other reptiles besides snakes fly on planes? No. Just like with snakes, other reptiles are not the safest to bring on a plane due to the risk of escape and causing harm to passengers or technical equipment on board.

How do you transport a snake long distance? Transporting a snake long distance is just like how I explained packaging your snake earlier. It will need a plastic tub with proper heating and cushioning to travel.

Are snakes allowed on a Greyhound bus? Snakes are not allowed on a Greyhound bus transport. The Greyhound company is very strict on what animals it allows onto their transportation services in order to maintain a safe environment for all their passengers.

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