Winter Care For Exotics

Do you have an exotic pet? One thing to consider, particularly in this climate, is the fact that many exotics are not cut out for winter weather. Your pet could get very sick—and potentially even die—if they get too cold. An Eau Claire, WI vet offers a few tips on caring for an exotic pet in winter below.

Proper Gear

With many exotics—especially reptiles—keeping their habitats at the proper temperatures is crucial. You’ll need to have a good thermometer. A temperature gun will also work. Get into the habit of checking the levels a few times a day. It’s definitely worth your while to purchase a thermostat that will automatically regulate temperatures. This will help protect your pet from fluctuating temperatures.

Heating Equipment

As far as heating equipment, heat lamps are a better—and safer—option than heating pads, which can cause scalds. However, lamps can sometimes get too hot, which is one reason we recommend checking them regularly.


Make sure that you have a backup system in place in case your power goes out or your furnace malfunctions. We recommend getting a small portable generator and dedicating it to your pet’s habitat. You’ll need to be very careful if you use a gas-powered generator, though, because of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.


In winter, dry air is often an issue, especially once the heaters start running. Dehydration can be an issue for many exotics, particularly reptiles with high humidity requirements. Some pets may need to be misted or soaked more frequently. Others may do best with a humidifier in the room, or even a bowl of water that can slowly evaporate. Specific needs vary from animal to animal, so ask your vet for advice.


Transporting exotic pets in winter can be tricky. Have the car heated up before bringing your animal companion out. You can use a small aquarium, insulated cooler, or plastic storage tote for transport. Dog and cat carriers will also work for some animals. For heat, you can add things like hot water bottles, heated rice socks, hand warmers, or even water bottles filled with hot water. Be sure to secure these, so they don’t roll onto your pet. You may also need to add a towel, so they can’t scald themselves.

Do you have questions about exotic pet care? Contact us, your Eau Claire, WI animal clinic, today!

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