How to Transport a Pet Turtle

Turtles are smaller pets that are generally easy to care for. However, transporting them can be difficult. You may need to transport them for vet checkups, bring them somewhere when you’re going on vacations, or other reasons. In this article, we’ll show you how to transport a pet turtle and go over the various factors you should think about when doing so.

If you are thinking about transporting your pet turtle, you must be aware of the proper procedures to avoid harming your pet.

How to Transport a Pet Turtle?

To transport a pet turtle, you must have the right container, proper air ventilation, the right temperature, and food and water.


Your turtle can be transported in the car in a plastic container with holes drilled in the lid for ventilation. I recommend something that closes securely because you don’t want your turtle to escape.

I also suggest that you put some form of padding at the bottom of the container. You can use a towel, paper towels, or newspaper, to line the bottom of the container. This is because your turtle might pee or poop on the ride, and you don’t want that spilling into your car.

The box should have enough space for the turtle to move around in but not too much space that it can flip over during transportation.

If you don’t have the right sized container, this reptile carrier is a great option.

If your trip is longer than 12 hours, you might want to get a larger container like this reptile terrarium transporter.


Your turtle’s air ventilation will be fine as long as you have drilled some holes in your plastic container. If you are going on longer trips, you may want to open up the box sometimes to let in some fresh air. You should never put your turtle in a container that is air tight.


The temperature will be the most challenging task. Most of the time, overheating is more of a concern than being too cool. When transporting your pet turtle, make sure you monitor the temperatures with a thermometer on the turtle’s box; the temperature should be between 75- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit.

If you are traveling in warm weather, you can mist your turtle or keep the padding damp regularly. If you have a car that has air conditioning, you can use this to keep the car cool so that your turtle doesn’t overheat.

For cold weather, you may need to use a warming pack. Place the turtle’s container inside a cooler, and add a wrapped heat pack. You can use a chemical heat pack for longer trips or a bottle of hot water for shorter ones. Once again, never let the turtle come in direct contact with the hot pack.

It is important that you keep your turtle’s container out of the sun. Never leave your turtle’s container parked alone in a car, even if the container is shaded with a cloth or paper, as this could cause the container to overheat, thus killing your turtle. When traveling, your turtle depends on you to keep them at the right temperature, and keeping them out of the sun is the best way to regulate the temperature in their containers.


Even semi-aquatic turtles can survive being out of the water for an extended period. For longer trips, you can mist the turtle and/or dampen the bottom padding, but keep in mind that this will be cooling the turtle, so only do this if you can keep the turtle warm enough.

If it is a short trip, your turtle will be fine, even if it is kept dry for a few hours. However, on longer journeys, you may want to stop and offer your turtle some water to drink.

For more information, check out my article on how long can turtles go without water.


Because turtles can survive for several days without food, you can wean your turtle off food for a day before your trip and even during your actual trip, unless your trip is longer than 1 or 2 days. It’s best to not feed your turtle the day before the trip so that it doesn’t poop during the journey like the turtle below.

It can also help prevent your turtle from peeing on you.

how to transport a turtle

Can you fly with a pet turtle?

If you are traveling by plane, you must be well prepared ahead of time.

  • Check with the airline before making travel plans. The best policy would allow you to bring your turtle inside the passenger cabin with you. Remember who you spoke with, their title, and their phone numbers. Obtain both verbal and written confirmation from them. If everything goes well, make sure you get an animal-carrying case that fits under your seat and is approved by the airline.
  • Do not try to sneak your pet turtle on board. When attempting to bring them as carry-on baggage, there are obvious risks. They cannot be transported in checked luggage because they will suffocate, freeze, or die due to a lack of a pressurized environment. If your pet is confiscated, you may lose it, face fines, and other penalties.
  • Ensure that you have all necessary paperwork.
  • Shipping is the last resort, and only healthy turtles should be shipped. DHL is a popular option, but please look online for more information on carriers who have experience shipping live reptiles.


Because turtles are small and easy to transport, you won’t have to deal with bulky carriers; however, you must take into account the conditions that allow them to travel securely and guarantee that your turtle is as relaxed as possible during your travel. Now that you know how to transport a pet turtle, we wish you the best of luck in your journey!

For more tips on moving with pets that aren’t turtles, check out how to easily move with a cat or dog.