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Below ZERO Ready for No Electricity?

As the thermostat plunges way below zero I wonder how many people have thought about their pets if they should lose electrical power. Are you ready? Think clearly and concisely, if the electric went out right now for a few days will your pets survive?

This is a widespread outage all over town. People are scrambling to other people’s houses that had the foresight to prepare for electrical outages. Your neighbor has an emergency generator you could go there, but they are allergic to animals. What are you going to do? PREPARE yourself right now. It can and does happen.

Through my lifetime I have been through many power failures lasting 24 hours or more. Some have been in the winter caused by heavy ice storms, power problems, blizzards, and evidently power gremlins – I believe that is who causes those mysterious failures.

We have also been through many power failures and blackouts because our power grid in the United States is out of date and not even close to size to handle the capacity of need.

The night before last it was near thirty below zero, which is darn cold. It was well below zero again last night. In the fall I made sure we would be ready for cold weather even if we should have a power failure.

Why do you have to worry about your pets if it is too cold or too hot?

Ectotherms; Exotic pet invertebrates, amphibians, and reptiles are coldblooded and cannot regulate body heat. We made the decision to have these animals as exotic pets it is our responsibility to protect their lives in case there is a long-term power outage. Normally, we would have under tank heaters, basking lights, and full spectrum lights to make sure they get their daily vitamin D they so essentially need, and to keep them warm. Without this heat they won’t eat, and if they did eat they would not be able to digest their food.

Many of our exotic pets are warm-blooded species this is known as endotherms. Many species of Endotherms cannot stand exposure to too much heat or too cold an environment. Either way many of these animals can die. Look at parrots, ferrets, and a huge number of exotic pets that will need emergency power for heat or air conditioning.


The emergency – it is -30 below zero, there is an ice storm; the ice has covered electrical and telephone lines all over town. You have no communication, no electricity, no heat, no water (it is frozen and water system runs on electricity, or you have a well and that is frozen or runs on electric), and little food since most needs cooking. The colder it is the more calories your body requires. You have pets, perhaps children, and elderly parent, and yourselves. How will you survive?

We have several things that are essential during a power failure. I have an emergency kit put together for spring storms. This kit is located near the back basement door which is also near one of the back doors. This kit can be run down to the basement during a tornado or it can be brought out the backdoor. Or, since we have a cold weather power failure it can stay right in the house.

Each member of the family has an emergency kit. Each kit is designed to last 72 hours.

Each household member is responsible for so many pets. The kit has food for that person and the pets for which they are responsible (go for light weight), water at least a gallon a day per person and pet (determine water needs per pet, type and size of pet), change of clothing, blankets, wet wipes, flashlights, batteries, candles, lighters, pocket knife, rope, duct tape, toiletries, a whistle, don’t forget the essentials for the animals (including medical needs and information). We need extra water for formula for an infant.

The list goes on I will link you to a list for emergency kits. Once it is written it will be here.

If you want to go this route it is handy and light weight, transportable or use it at home - 72 hour food package for one person Mountain House 72-Hour Emergency Meal Kit





Easy water Mainstay Emergency Drinking Water (60 Pack)






We have two forms of backup heat – one could be portable if the need should arise. Unless you’re Hercules it could not be carried out on foot along with your emergency kit. This would be a propane heater. We started with one – we have used it so many times we now have several. We had propane camping –like canisters for the heater but now we have the large but yet still portable 20 lb cylinder you see at stores.

Even if the electric went out for an hour in this extreme cold I would lose pets and our newborn baby granddaughter. We also have a two-year old to keep warm and a elderly parent.

These propane heaters with the amount of propane we have on hand would last several days. Have we needed emergency heat beyond 24hours? Yes, we have been without heat (or air in the summer 100 F or above) up to seven days. Three months if you count the time I bought a summer country house sight unseen in Northern Minnesota and moved there in the winter. One of my oops moments.

Remember, you can die of carbon monoxide poisoning if you run these in an enclosed place. Don’t place them in tiny rooms and make sure to use a carbon monoxide detector while using devices such as these. The unit we use has a low-oxygen shut-off switch for safe indoor operation. These propane heaters run quite a little while (four hours) on just a one pound cylinder and you can use up to a 20 cylinder. We have both sizes. Never bring the large cylinders inside the house. They can be very dangerous. This is the unit we use. Mr. Heater MRHF273400 Buddy Portable LP Gas Heater



A forewarning you will need an additional hose to hook the heater to a 20 cylinder (run it outside with the hose) Mr Heater 75,000 BTU 12-Foot Propane Hose Assembly #F273072




Don’t use a charcoal grill in the house - EVER, the fumes will overcome you quickly. Also, if you have birds, they breathe differently than we do and cannot handle the fumes of many forms of heat. The propane heaters should be safe around birds, keep them both in a large room with ventilation.

We need something else to keep us warm or cool if the power goes in the heat of summer, have some light, to keep our food fresh, and freezer working. If you have country water that runs on a well you will not have water without an emergency generator. We found out how important a backup generator is. This is your second most important item a backup generator. Actually, you could consider it foremost, it will run the whole house if you do it correctly.

My Exotic Pet Shop

Here is everything you need to know about emergency generators.
Stay clear of Coleman generators they went bankrupt – My article on emergency power generators Generators

Scroll down a litter further and sign up for the exotic pet’s newsletter. Your email is 100% safe, I never even see it. You will receive a newsletter twice a week. Once in a great while an emergency newsletter may go out, but this would be only for a big illness outbreak or other emergency. Subscribe so you will know when new content comes out!

If you have a comment about this article, if you have a question, or just want to say hello, stop by the Exotic Pet Forum! Comment Here

Feel FREE to Contact me anytime. You can reach me via my bio page. Click on my name.

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