Packing Guidelines for your Reptile

ReptilesEXPRESS.com Shipping Guidelines/Standards

Shipping Supplies Checklist

Live Reptile Shipping Temperature Guidelines

  • 40°F or Less: ReptilesExpress.com recommends not shipping until warmer weather.
  • 40-70°F: Use a 40 hour or longer heat pack
  • 70-85°F: No Heat Pack or Cold Pack Required.
  • 85-95°F: Use a Phase 22 Cold Pack or Cold Cell.
  • 95°F and Above: ReptilesExpress.com recommends not shipping until cooler weather.

These are general guidelines. You need to know the specific temperature requirements and safe tolerances for the species that you plan to ship and adjust these guidelines accordingly.

Live Reptile Packaging Guidelines/Standards

1. Start the assembly of your shipping box

  • Open box and fold the bottom flaps of the box in
  • Tape the bottom of the box in a “H” pattern covering all seams/edges of cardboard

2. Insert the styrofoam insulation

  • Insert the bottom panel first
  • Insert the side panels

3. Ventilate the shipping box

  • With a screw driver or something similar, poke a few holes in your shipping box.
  • Start on the outside and make sure the hole goes through the cardboard and foam panels

4. Deli Cup or Cotton Bag

Deli Cup

  • Place a piece of paper towel or liner inside the deli cup
  • Place your reptile inside deli cup and snap lid in place
  • Place tape around edge of cup to insure there will be no escapes (don’t cover air holes in the side of the cups)
  • Label the top with the common name, scientific name and quantity

Cotton Bag

  • Place strips of newspaper or paper towels inside the bag
  • Place your reptile inside the bag
  • Secure string or tie bag in a knot (add a zip tie at the bottom of the string or knot for extra security if desired)
  • Label the bag with the common name, scientific name and quantity

5. Place your deli cup(s) or cotton bag(s) in to your shipping box

Deli Cup(s)

  • Stack deli cups together and in a stable stack (large on bottom, small on top)

Cotton Bag(s)

  • Place a nest of your fill material in the bottom of the box (think egg in an egg carton)
  • Place your cotton bag into the nest

6. Heat Pack or Cold Pack (based on weather at your location and delivery location)

  • Open heat pack and shake to start activation or freeze cold pack overnight
  • Place heat pack into your pocket or wrap in a towel for 1 hour before placing in your box
  • Shipping with deli cup(s) or cotton bag(s)

Deli Cup(s)

  • Wrap heat pack/cold pack in 3 or four layers of paper towels or newspaper and secure with tape
  • Place wrapped/activated heat pack or completely frozen cold pack next to your stack of deli cup(s)

Cotton Bag(s)

  • Tape edges of heat pack to top panel of the box liner (make sure red line is visible and not covered with tape)

7. Place fill material

  • Loosely place fill around your deli cup(s) or cotton bag(s)
  • The idea here is to keep the contents from shifting around in the box. Fill all open areas. Don’t pack it too tight.

8. Place top styrofoam panel into box

9. Place your care sheets, invoices, instructions or anything you want the recipient to see before they see the reptiles

10. Close top box flaps. Tape all edges in a “H” pattern

11. Place your ReptilesExpress.com shipping label on the top of the box

12. Label the outside of box with the Common Names, Scientific names and quantities of all animals you are shipping

  • Read and become familiar with: Title 50 Part 14: Wildlife and Fisheries Importation, Exportation, and Transportation of Wildlife
  • Link to Title 50 Part 14
  • Read and become familiar with: Lacy Act
  • Link to Lacy Act

13. Drop off your package to AN APPROPRIATE FedEx shipping center or wait for your FedEx scheduled Pickup

IMPORTANT INFO - THIS WILL HELP YOU AVOID PROBLEMS!
There are several different types of FedEx locations:
  • FedEx Ship Center - a true "FedEx station", designed for shipping/receiving packages, staffed by real FedEx employees
  • FedEx "Authorized" Ship Center - an independently owned businesses licensed by FedEx to handle packages, NOT staffed by real FedEx employees
  • FedEx "Office & Print" Ship Center - a FedEx location designed towards facilitating small-office needs (printing, making copies, some parcel handling)
The first one - FedEx Ship Center is by far the best choice, since it is designed for shipping/receiving and is is staffed by real FedEx employees.

We suggest you contact your desired ship FROM location in advance of dropping off your first shipment to get their operating hours (you don't want to miss the last pickup of the day!). TELL THEM YOU ARE SHIPPING A LIVE HARMLESS REPTILE IN PACKAGING THAT HAS BEEN PRE-APPROVED BY FEDEX. If they say "OH!... We don't accept live animals for shipment!", DON'T PANIC. Technically, the FedEx guidelines say they DON'T ship live animals. That's where Reptiles Express come in. We spent many, many months of negotiation to establish this service for our members, and we ARE approved at the corporate level to ship NON-VENEMOUS live animals. But you know how it is - not all the troops on the ground always know what's been done in the war room, so it's not uncommon to find a FedEx employee that doesn't know they CAN accept live animals for shipment. If a true FedEx Ship Center tells you they cannot accept your package, EMAIL DEBBIE@REPTILESEXPRESS.COM or CALL OUR CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPT (404-477-4102) AND WE WILL RESOLVE IT FOR YOU.

IMPORTANT HOLD AT LOCATION INFO! If you want your package to be held at the destination FedEx location for your customer to pickup, you should ship to a true FEDEX SHIP CENTER. You CANNOT ship to a "FedEx Office & Print Ship Center" - THEY WILL NOT ALLOW LIVE ANIMALS TO BE HELD AT THESE LOCATIONS.

SOME of the "FedEx Authorized Ship Centers" will allow live animals to be held there for customer pickup, but SOME WILL NOT. If you must ship "Hold for Pickup" to one of these, CALL THEM FIRST TO BE SURE THEY WILL ACCEPT A LIVE ANIMAL AS A HOLD FOR PICKUP SHIPMENT.

CLICK HERE to go to the FedEx website and find an appropriate location. Be sure to click the "Filter" button to the right of the search box and be sure there is a checkmark beside "Staffed Location" so the BEST choices will be displayed.