Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

Camping with “Other” Pets Part II

Last month I talked about pets that you could bring RVing with you - other than cats and dogs. I showcased birds and turtles and explained why you shouldn’t try to keep fish in an RV. This time we will discuss all of the little mammals and reptiles that would be very suited for RVing.
Hamsters, Mice, Rats, Guinea Pigs

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All of these types of small critters make excellent pets on the road. You can keep them in small cages, they can get exercise on an exercise wheel, and they don’t require much in the way of food and water. There are two major issues with these types of pets: bedding smell and containment. If you are going to keep any of these small mammals in a small space, you need to be especially vigilant about changing their bedding every day.
Secondly, you need to be prepared to have a cage/house for them that is foolproof in terms of containment. This fancy cage would take up quite a bit of run, but you could put it outside (in the shade only) during the day. Always be aware of the temperature with any animal. Do not leave any animal out in the full sun at any time. Even cats need a place for shade and some fresh water.

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And speaking of cats, you would need to make absolutely sure that your cat is not able to get into whatever cage you use for your small mammal. Almost all cats will hunt these types of creatures.
Ferrets: Because of their strong personal musk smell, I would not recommend one in an RV.
Snakes and Lizards
Reptiles aren’t for everybody, but an estimated 3% of households in the United States own at least one reptile. Reptiles, including turtles, lizards, and snakes. One problem with reptiles as pets is that they can carry germs that make people sick. Of greatest importance is salmonellosis. An estimated 70,000 people get salmonellosis from contact with reptiles in the United States each year.
Here are a few recommendations from Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine:

    • Persons at increased risk for infection or serious complications from salmonellosis should avoid contact
      with reptiles and amphibians and any items that have been in contact with reptiles and amphibians.
    • Reptiles and amphibians should be kept out of households that include children aged <5 years or
      immunocompromised persons. A family expecting a child should remove any pet reptile or amphibian
      from the home before the infant arrives.
    • Persons always should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling reptiles and
      amphibians or their cages.
    • Reptiles and amphibians should not be allowed to roam freely throughout a home or living area.
    • Pet reptiles and amphibians should be kept out of kitchens and other food-preparation areas. Kitchen
      sinks should not be used to bathe reptiles and amphibians or to wash their dishes, cages, or aquariums.
      If bathtubs are used for these purposes, they should be cleaned thoroughly and disinfected with bleach.

If after reading the above warnings, you are still open to having a reptile as a pet, make sure that you read up on the specific requirements of their care. And, make sure you know how big that baby snake or iguana is going to get before you bring it home. Right now, Florida is having a big problem with Pythons being let out into the wild, they are not native to Florida and cause big problems.

Also, many of these types of reptiles require either a heat lamp or a warming rock. If you don’t always have electricity, this type of pet would not be appropriate. For example most trailers don’t have electricity while traveling, so you wouldn’t be able to keep the reptile warm enough in colder climates while traveling.
So, like with any pet, make sure you thoroughly understand their requirements, food needs, housing needs, and care needs, BEFORE you run to your nearest pet store to get one.
I was interested in getting a Russian tortoise, but when I found out that they can be really picky eaters, I opted to stick with my dogs and cats. At least I know if I buy the REALLY expensive natural cat food, my two debutante cats will eat it!
Write to me an let me know about your exotic pets that you travel with

Do you travel with your Dog? Here is a new Facebook Group which is dedicated to Camping and RVing with Dogs. Please join us!