how to ship reptiles

How to Ship Reptiles

Some people get worried when it comes to shipping reptiles. It can definitely be a stressful process. From deciding the size of the box to checking weather patterns to make sure your reptile arrives alive. Luckily, these days its become a science and we're here to explain the whole process to you!

How to Ship Reptiles

We have broken it down for you with 5 EASY steps. 

  • Understand your local and federal laws
  • Prepare the proper supplies
  • Monitor Weather
  • Trusting your animals health
  • Pack your reptile safely

Following these steps will help you have a safe and easy reptile shipment.

how to ship reptiles

Understand your local and federal laws:
Before you have a reptile for sale you must be aware of your local laws. Some states require certain documentation for you to sell, ship, or even breed reptiles and even specific species. Also, there are certain species that may be illegal to keep and/or ship to certain states. It is best to research the laws on the reptiles you want to sell before shipping.
Prepare the proper supplies:
For the most part, packing supplies are pretty straightforward. It's not so different than shipping a fragile package to a family member, except there's a live animal inside. 
You will need to following:
  • Boxes

We have a standard style of reptile shipping box that we use in the reptile industry that has the verbiage stating the contents of the box. They come in a variety of sizes. E.g. 6"x6"x4", 8"x8"x7" and even up to 16"x16"x8". You can decide on the size of the box depending on the size of your reptile, the species, on the weather and what temperature regulating supply you may need in the shipment.

  • Temperature regulating supplies

Heat packs, Cold Packs, and Cryo Packs. Heat packs are designed for reliabilities and steady heat. This way your reptile does not freeze if it's going into a cold climate. Cold packs do just about the opposite. Cold packs are kept in a freezer until they are ready to be used to make sure your pet reptile does not over heat if it's traveling through hot climates. Cryo packs, also known as Gel packs, are your happy medium. Though there are instances where they may not be used, like extreme weathers. You can even join a Heat or Cold pack with a Cryo pack in your shipment. 

  • Packing insulation

Usually our industry standard boxes come already with styrofoam lining. But, you also need to decide wether you will pack the box with some paper or poly-fil. You use this so that way the pet reptile(s) in your shipment do not bounce or move around during transit.

how to ship reptiles

  • Tape

This one is pretty obvious, but important none the less. We recommend purchasing a tape gun and using a 3-4 inch wide tape.

  • Cups and Bags

Depending on the species and size of the reptile you are shipping is how you will decide on wether you need to cup or bag your reptile. Baby ball pythons, for example, can be put in an 8 oz deli cup with holes minimum or a small reptile bag. An adult bearded dragon, on the other hand, may ship in either a medium-large reptile bag, or a 16-32 oz deli cup. There are some kinds of reptiles that may not go in either a cup or a bag. Small colubrids and sand boas are best in a cup as they may be able to escape a bag, but medium size monitor lizards are best shipped in bags as they will rub up on the cup and can harm themselves. 

Monitor weather:
Be weary of rain storms, snowy places, and heat spikes. Not only your local area but most importantly the area you are shipping to. You should monitor the low temperature the day of shipment for the area you are shipping to and the high temperature the day of arrival for the area you are shipping to. Also, pay attention to the sorting facility it should arrive to in the middle of the night and your local weather. Sometimes storms in Memphis or Indie can cause a day delay. It is important to note that sometimes when the weather is too drastic for the species you are shipping, it may be best to postpone shipment for better weather. And always remember shipping to a hub for pick up is ALWAYS the safest option. Just head over to your couriers website to find the closest hub to your customer that allows live animals.
Trusting your animals health:
During transit your pet reptile may pee or poop so always make sure the reptile you are shipping is eating regularly and hydrated. Though, it may be bad to feed your reptile the day before/of shipping as they can regurgitate. It may be a good idea to soak your pet reptile before shipment to help them hydrate and/or poop before shipment. This may not be effective for some reptiles, but it does work great for tortoises. If you are choosing to not soak your reptile, still make sure it's hydrated. 
Pack your reptiles safely:
You've successfully sold a healthy pet reptile, have your shipping supplies, and the weather is perfect to ship. Make sure to put the proper temperature regulating supplies if needed. Tape and secure the box. Put on your label, write the species, common name, and quantity on top next to the label and you are ready to go! We recommend shipping priority overnight. This means your shipment arrives the following day between 10-noon. Delays can happen, but with following these steps it can help you secure your pet reptiles in case of emergencies. Always practice good business. Make sure to have policies that protect you and your customer in case of any DOA's (dead on arrivals), though rare they can happen. Lastly, throw in some stickers and business cards as needed to make your customers happy! 


how to ship reptiles 


Recommended Temps:

Ball Pythons, Leopard Geckos, Skinks, Sand Boas: ~95-35 | Highest without cold pack 88 degrees, Lowest without heat 70 degrees | Highest safe to ship to hub only 98 degrees, Lowest safe to ship to hub only 30 degrees

Most Pythons and Boas, Some Colubrids, Most Lizards, Turtles/Tortoises: ~90-35 | Highest without cold pack 85 degrees, Lowest without heat 70 degrees | Highest safe to ship to hub only 95 degrees, Lowest safe to ship to hub only 30 degrees

Arboreal Reptiles, New Caledonia Geckos, Most Colubrids: ~85-35 | Highest without cold pack 78 degrees, Lowest without heat 68 degrees | Highest safe to ship to hub only 90 degrees, Lowest safe to ship to hub only 30 degrees



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