If you’re a lover of slithery snakes or bouncy frogs, then you might have the occasion to ship live reptiles at one time or another.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about shipping reptiles with FedEx, including which types are allowed, how to package them, and how much it will cost you!
FedEx Reptile Shipping In 2023
FedEx allows customers to ship non-venomous reptiles, including snakes in 2023. To do so, shippers must first complete the Live Reptile Certification. This process can be expensive and time-consuming, so many elect to ship through a specialized company like Ship Your Reptiles or Reptiles2You. Reptile shipping kits cost between $22 and $35.
If you’ve still got questions about shipping reptiles, then be sure to read all of the ways you can ship reptiles with FedEx!
Does FedEx Ship Reptiles?
Unlike carriers like USPS and UPS, FedEx ships all kinds of non-venomous reptiles, including snakes.
That said, shipping reptiles through FedEx isn’t as easy as packing up the animal and slipping it into the mail. Indeed, you need to obtain a special Live Reptile Certification first.
Moreover, to receive this certification, you’ll need to create a FedEx account, construct a box prototype for shipping reptiles, pass a series of tests, and complete paperwork.
Also, obtaining this certification is a very time-consuming and expensive process for most people.
With that, these companies are certified to ship live animals either B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer).
How Do I Pack Reptiles For Shipping With FedEx?
Unsurprisingly, quite a bit of work goes into packing up a live animal for shipping. Below, I outline the steps to take to make sure your reptile arrives safely.
1. Gather Your Shipping Supplies
Required shipping supplies include the following when shipping reptiles with FedEx:
- Insulated box of an appropriate size (must be a minimum of 275-pound corrugated, double-wall, weather-resistant fiberboard and have holes for ventilation)
- Zip ties
- Deli cup or cloth reptile bag
- Heat pack (may be required for some shipments)
- Cold pack
- Packing material (e.g., crumpled newspaper)
- Self-adhesive label envelope
- “Harmless LIVE REPTILE” label for the interior of the box
2. Prepare The Shipping Box
Start the heat pack two hours before shipping and freeze the cold pack overnight.
Then, while those items are being prepared, insert insulating foam panels on the bottoms and sides of the box if necessary.
After that, create ventilation holes in the box by punching ¼-inch holes using a Phillips screwdriver. Moreover, ensure you punch two holes on opposing sides.
Additionally, punch holes from the outside in, making sure to go through the box and the insulating foam.
3. Create A Nest With Packing Material
Crumple up newspaper, put it in the bottom and sides of the box, and place the deli cup or reptile bag securely in the nest.
After that, if your shipment requires a heat pack, tape it to the underside of the lid with the red line visible.
4. Prepare The Deli Cup Or Cloth Bag
If using a bag, inspect it before using it to ensure there are no holes or broken seams. For maximum security, use a zip tie to seal the bag.
If using a cup, check for any cracks or holes. Next, tape entirely around the rim, but do not cover air holes.
After that, label the cup or bag with the species and sex using a permanent marker.
5. Inspect The Animal
Only ship a healthy animal and a good weight. Ideally, you should avoid shipping reptiles when they are shedding.
Also, it’s good to refrain from feeding the animal the week before shipping to prevent regurgitation during transport.
6. Put The Animal Into The Container
Leave the animal room to move, and use packing material as a cushion to absorb any waste.
7. Put The Container Into The Box
Nestle the cup or bag into the nesting material; it should not have any room to move around in the box.
Then, place the top insulating foam panel/lid with the cold or heat pack (if required) facing down.
Next, place your receipt and any other paperwork on top of the insulating foam lid. Finally, attach the “harmless LIVE REPTILE” label on top.
8. Label Your Package In Compliance With The Lacey Act
Mark the outside of your package with a complete list of the animal(s) inside, including the quantities, common names, and scientific names.
Additionally, you should attach a Lacey Act/IATA label.
9. Attach The Shipping Label And Ship
Tape your shipping label to the top of the box or place it in a plastic pouch.
After that, drop off your package at a FedEx facility (not a FedEx Office location), as FedEx Office locations typically do not accept live animal shipments.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Reptile With FedEx?
Even though live animal shipments require additional care and expertise, shipping doesn’t cost any more than it would for another type of package.
Like other FedEx shipments, live animal shipments are priced according to their weight, dimensions, and shipping distance.
Moreover, you can use the FedEx price tool to calculate your shipping costs.
In terms of materials, expect to pay between $22 to $35 for a reptile shipping kit complete with foam insulation, zip ties, a cloth bag, hot and cold packs, and the necessary labels.
Where Do I Drop Off My FedEx Reptile Shipment?
As mentioned above, you should drop off your live animal shipment at a FedEx Hub (also known as a FedEx Ship Center on the FedEx website).
Remember, these are the only locations authorized to ship live animals.
Also, to find a Ship Center near you, head to the store locator tool on the FedEx website. Then, filter by “ship dangerous goods.”
While reptiles aren’t “dangerous goods,” adding this filter will give you only FedEx facility hubs.
Unlike other shipping companies, FedEx makes it easy to ship live reptiles.
Also, while you can go through the trouble of obtaining a live animal certification yourself, it’s even easier to let a specialized company do the work for you.