Reptiles2You Shipping & Packing Guidelines
Things Typically Required to Properly Ship Your Reptiles
- Insulated Shipping Box with foam insulation (3/4" thich insulation is highly recommended)
- Deli Cups and/or Cotton Reptile Bags
- Heat Pack or Cold Pack
- Fill material (crumpled newspaper, paper towels, foam peanuts, etc)
- Packing tape
- Sharpie type marker
- Any Care Sheets you may want to provide to your customers
- A Reptiles2You FedEx shipping label!
Live Reptile Shipping Temperature Guidelines
- 40°F and below: We recommend shipping be delayed until warmer weather if it at all possible - it is very risky to ship live animals in cold weather!
- 40-70°F: Use a heat pack (40 hour or longer suggested)
- 70-85°F: No Heat Pack or Cold Pack typically required
- 85-95°F: Use a Cold Pack (our Phase 22 is highly recommended) or Thermafreeze Cold Cell
- 95°F and Above: We recommend shipping be delayed until cooler weather if it at all possible
These are general temperature tolerance guidelines. You should research specific information for the species that you plan to ship and adjust accordingly.
Live Reptile Packaging Guidelines
Assemble 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.
- Insert the styrofoam insulation (all but the top piece of course!) Insert the bottom panel first, then the side panels.
- Ventilate the shipping box (with a screw driver or something similar, carefully poke a few holes in each side of your shipping box (be sure holes go all the way through the styrofoam insulation)).
Prepare Deli Cup or Cotton Bag
Using 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 (careful not to cover air holes in the side of the cups!).
- Label the top of the cup with the animal's common name, scientific name and the quantity.
Using Cotton Bag
- Place some strips of newspaper or paper towels inside the bag to cushion the animal.
- Place your reptile inside the bag.
- SECURE THE BAG using the bag's tie-strings or tie the top of the bag in a knot (add a zip tie for extra security if desired - be sure your bag is secured properly!).
- Label the bag with the common name, scientific name and quantity of animals.
Place Deli Cup or Cotton Bag into Shipping Box
Using Deli Cup
- Place deli cup into bottom of box, surround with cushioning material (shredder paper, foam peanuts, etc).
- If shipping multiple cups, stack them one on top of the other (largest ones on bottom, smaller ones on top).
Using Cotton Bag
- Place cushioning material (shredder paper, foam peanuts, etc) in a nest-like shape in bottom of the box.
- Place your cotton bag into the nest.
Temperature Regulation (Heat Pack or Cold Pack)
Reptiles and amphibians are ectotherms (they derive heat from their environment rather than producing it internally), so it is very important to maintain an appropriate temperature range within their shipping container.
When considering temperature requirements, consider the temps (highs & lows) not only at your location, but also at the major FedEx hubs (usually Memphis, TN or Indianapolis, IN) and at the destination location as well.
A good heat pack is soft and pliable, not firm. If a heat pack feels hard or firm, it has likely been activated and will not get hot again - do not use it.
- Reptiles2You offers heat packs in 40 hour and and 60 hour versions. Reptiles and amphibians should always be shipped Priority Overnight (next MORNING delivery), so a 40 hour heat pack is normally adequate. Do NOT use the "hand warmers" typically found at outdoor stores - they get too hot too fast, and don't last very long (usually 12 hours or less).
- Heat packs consume oxygen to generate their heat. Most packs have a red line on one side that is slightly perforated to provide the appropriate amount of oxygen for the pack to work. Be sure this red line faces the open area of your box, and don't cover it up with tape!
- Activate your heat pack - remove from plastic bag, shake it vigorously for 20-30 seconds, wrap it in a towel and let it sit for an hour or so before you place it in the box.
- The heat pack can be taped to the underside of the top insulation panel (tape it at the edges - don't tape over that red line!), or wrapped in a paper towel loosely (remember it needs oxygen!) and taped to the top of the deli cup, or simply nestled beside the deli cup or bag that contains your animal - either method typically works OK. If you choose to nestle the heat pack beside the deli cup or cotton bag containing your animal, be sure to place some cushioning material between the heat pack and the container so the hot surface of the pack doesn't contact the container directly - it could get too hot for your animal.
- Do not use more than one heat pack unless you are shipping in a very large box (like our 30"x16"x10"). Two heat packs in smaller boxes can harm or even kill your animal from either too much heat or oxygen deprivation if the box is tightly sealed (remember heat packs consume oxygen as they generate heat!).
- Reptiles2You offers cold packs in two versions: Cryopak Phase 22 Cold Packs, and Thermafreeze Cold Cells. The Thermafreeze Cold Cells are fine when minimal risk is involved, the Cryopak Phase 22 is preferred when temps are higher and greater protection is required. It's a much better pack - stays colder longer, and can be reused more times.
- Cold packs must be frozen overnight before use for proper performance.
- The cold pack can be taped to the underside of the top insulation panel, wrapped in a paper towel and taped to the top of the deli cup, or simply nestled beside the deli cup or bag that contains your animal - either method typically works OK. If using a cotton bag rather than a deli cup to contain your animal, be sure to place some cushioning material between the cold pack and the bag so the cold surface of the pack doesn't contact the bag directly and possibly harm your animal.
- Typically only one Cryopak Phase 22 is needed, if you are using Thermafreeze Cold Cells use two or three square cells for adequate protection.
- After inserting the animal in its container (deli cup or cotton bag) and placing the heat or cold pack in its proper position, loosely fill the void around your deli cup or bag with some chsuioning material (shredded paper, foam peanuts, etc). Don't pack it TIGHTLY, just fill the space so that animal's container doesn't bounce around loosely in the box.
- Place top styrofoam panel into box, then on top of that put in any care sheets, invoices, instructions, etc - anything you want the recipient to see before they see the animals in side), then close top box flaps and tape all edges in a “H” pattern.
- Secure your Reptiles2You shipping label on the top of the box.
- Label the outside of box with the information that is required per The Lacey Act:
- Common names of animal(s) inside
- Scientific of animal(s) inside
- Quantities of each animal contained in the box
To make this easy, we have provided a 4-per page form you can download HERE (designed on Avery peel & stick label format #6878, or you can simply print it on plain paper, cut one out & tape to any open space on your box). BOXES THAT ARE NOT LABELED APPROPRIATELY ARE MUCH MORE LIKELY TO BE OPENED FOR INSPECTION!
- Drop off your package to AN APPROPRIATE FedEx shipping center or wait for your FedEx scheduled Pickup, and RELAX!
Choosing a FedEx Location
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 (this is by far the best choice to receive or ship your reptiles!).
- FedEx Authorized Ship Center - an independently owned businesses licensedby 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, etc).
To find an appropriate FedEx facility in your area, use the FedEx Facility Locator. Be sure to click the "Filter" button to the right of the search box, and be sure there is a checkmark beside "Staffed Location" to see the best choices (i.e. FedEx Ship Centers, staffed by FedEx personnal).
Contact the facility you plan to use before heading to drop off your first shipment to confirm 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 they don't accept live animals for shipment, DON'T WORRY. Technically, the FedEx guidelines say they DON'T ship live animals.
That's where Reptiles2You come in.
Reptiles2You has been approved by FedEx 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 US (Debbie@Reptiles2You.com) or call our Customer Service line (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, ship to a true FEDEX SHIP CENTER.
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 a FedEx Authorized Ship Center, CALL THEM FIRST TO BE SURE THEY WILL ACCEPT A LIVE ANIMAL AS A HOLD FOR PICKUP SHIPMENT.You CANNOT ship to or ship from a FedEx Office & Print Ship Center - THEY WILL NOT ALLOW LIVE ANIMALS TO BE DROPPED OFF, HELD, OR RECEIVED AT THESE LOCATIONS.
Helpful Regulatory Information
We encourage all reptile and amphibial shippers to read and become familiar with:
- Title 50 Part 14: Wildlife and Fisheries Importation, Exportation, and Transportation of Wildlife.
- The Lacey Act.