Reptiles2You Help/FAQ

Welcome to Reptiles2You! Whether you're a seasoned reptile breeder, an avid hobbyist, or a total newbie to it all, we can help.  We have assembled our Help content into different categories to make it easier to find what you're looking for. 

This page contains General FAQ's about getting started shipping reptiles and the Reptiles2You service (other categories are listed in the Help/FAQ Categories box to the left).

If you can't find an answer to your question, email us - we'll be glad to help you personally.  (If your question is a good one, it may eventually show up here so others can learn from it as well.)

Thanks for stopping by!

  1. What do I need to ship a live reptile?
  2. Am I required to use Reptiles2You packaging to ship with Reptiles2You?
  3. What can I ship with Reptiles2You?
  4. What shipping services does Reptiles2You offer?
  5. Do you offer any insurance for live shipments?
  6. What type of shipping box is required?
  7. Are there any special labeling requirements?
  8. What about special packaging considerations when shipping in harsh temperatures?

1. What do I need to ship a live reptile?

So you're a newbie, huh?  You've come to the right place - we've got your back!  All it takes to successfully ship your reptile is the proper materials and a little knowledge, and we can provide you with both!

You need packaging designed for shipping live animals (strong corrugated box with foam, deli cup and/or cotton reptile bag).  If you only need to ship one or two animals, getting one of our pre-fab Reptile Shipping Kits is the way to go.  Get one of our kits, pack your animal as instructed on our Shipping & Packing Guidelines page, purchase your Discounted Shipping Label (you'll have to Register as a Member first, and then then Login to do that), put the label on the box, take the box to your nearest FedEx drop-off location (or we can schedule a pickup at your home if you prefer), and that's it!

Read through the rest of the info on this page as well as our Shipping & Packing Guidelines page, and when you receive your kit you'll be ready to rock!

If you have any more questions, email us - our Customer Service Manager Debbie Price will be glad to help! 

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2. Am I Required to use Reptiles2You Packaging to Ship With Reptiles2You?

REQUIRED?... No. Strongly encouraged?... YES!

Parcel carriers insist on packaging that is appropriate for what is being shipped. This is especially important when shipping something ALIVE, and truly IMPERATIVE when shipping reptiles & amphibians. Obviously the carriers don’t want a snake or a lizard getting loose in a carrier hub or the back of a truck – that would not be good for them, and it would be very detrimental to our industry as a whole.

So you don’t have to buy your packaging from us, but you DO have to use carrier approved packaging, (and ours is).

Reptiles2You packaging is approved by FedEx Labs, and offers the following benefits:

  • Sturdy 200 lb PSI boxes (using the more stringent “Bursting Test” method, not the “ECT” (Edge Crush Test) method used by some shippers)
  • Thicker foam adds significant strength to the package in addition to the obvious insulating benefits
  • Boxes are plainly labeled “Live Animal”
  • White boxes with red lettering so carrier personnel can easily/quickly discern that these packages are SPECIAL, and need to be treated as such. (Our sister company Ghann’s Cricket Farm was the first feeder insect company in the USA to ship Live Crickets in white boxes with red text many decades ago, helping pioneer this practice.)
  • Using packaging from Reptiles2You ensures that you are protecting not only your precious reptile, but also our industry overall by shipping responsibly.

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3. What can I ship with Reptiles2You?

Reptiles2You members are allowed to ship live non venomous reptiles (NO venomous reptiles, and no mammals or birds), as well as of course any normal (non hazardous) items, to and from business and residential addresses. All live animal shipments must adhere to the Reptiles2You Shipping & Packing Guidelines.

R2You members must also adhere to FedEx US Shipping Terms and Conditions which specifies items that CANNOT be shipped, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Cash, explosives or items resembling explosives, fireworks, firearms and/or ammunition (unless you are properly licensed), batteries, illegal drugs, liquor, aerosols, dry ice, hazardous waste, venomous reptiles, etc. 

If you are still uncertain about something you want to ship, email us for guidance.

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4. What shipping services does Reptiles2You offer?

Reptiles2You currently offers the following FedEx services:

  • Priority Overnight
  • Standard Overnight
  • 2Day AM
  • 2Day
  • Express Saver (three days)
  • Ground

All service levels are available to and from businesses and residences.

All live shipments should be sent via Priority Overnight, and only shipped Monday through Thursday to allow for next morning delivery (overnight shipments shipped on Friday would not be delivered until Monday which is obviously unacceptable). Failure to use Priority Overnight for live shipments greatly increases possibility of your animal DYING in transit, and FedEx does NOT compensate for loss of live items.

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5. Do you offer any insurance for live shipments?

No, at present Reptiles2You does not offer insurance for your shipments.

Yes, we know our friends at ShipYourReptiles offer insurance, but it only covers your animal if the package is LATE. FedEx typically delivers 98% of their packages on time, so the insurance only has a chance of being worthwhile 2% of the time (and then only if your animal arrives dead of course). With long odds like that, we just don’t think it’s a good way to spend your money, but if you absolutely must have your live shipment insured, we suggest using our friends at SYR.

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6. What type of shipping box is required?

All live animals must be shipped in a STURDY new (unused) corrugated box DESIGNED FOR SHIPPING ANIMALS. Yes, you can get “a cardboard box” just about anywhere, but boxes that are not designed for shipping live animals are more likely to suffer damage in transit that could endanger your animal. Our agreement with FedEx mandates the use of packaging that meets requirements for live animals, moreover – you owe it to the animal – protect it properly!

The box must contain sturdy foam insulation at least 1/2" (ours is 3/4" for added safety) to help maintain proper temperatures in the inner cavity and to add strength to the package.

The inner cavity must be large enough to contain the deli cup or cotton bag housing the animal, a heat or cold pack if required, and adequate cushioning material (crumpled paper, etc) to help absorb the bumps and bangs that will undoubtedly occur during transit.

Reptiles2You shipping boxes are made specifically for us to our specifications, we offer thick foam insulation, tight-sealing deli cups, and quality organic cotton bags. Using our packaging will help ensure that you are providing your animal the greatest opportunity for a comfortable and safe trip.

Don’t cut corners by using sub-standard packaging that might result in your animal dying or escaping. That’s not good for you or the recipient, it reflects poorly on our entire industry, and provides fuel for those that seek to have keeping reptiles as pets banned entirely.

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7. Are there any special labeling requirements?

YES - federal and state regulations require all live animal shipments to have certain information clearly visible on the outside of every package.

Download THIS LABEL, fill in the fields (scientific name of the animal, the common name, and the qty of animals in the box), and affix it to the outside of the box.

As of this writing, this label meets all federal and state requirements, however, proper labeling is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. If there is any doubt, please contact your local FWS (Fish and Wildlife Service) to see if there are any special labeling requirements for the species you are shipping. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE AS A REPTILE COMMUNITY FOLLOW ALL FEDERAL AND STATE GUIDELINES TO PROTECT OUR INDUSTRY.

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8. What about special packaging considerations when shipping in harsh temperatures?

Shipping live animals always involves some degree of risk that the animal will encounter less than ideal conditions, and that risk can increase dramatically when the temperatures are significantly higher or lower than what the particular animal needs. Having knowledge of the particular species you are shipping is paramount, as different animals require different considerations - so KNOW YOUR ANIMAL!

But generally speaking, the guidelines below can help you make informed decisions when shipping most reptiles and amphibians in certain temperature ranges.  IMPORTANT - when we use the term "heat packs", we are talking about heat packs like the ones we sell that are designed for shipping live animals!  Do NOT use the "hand warmer" heat pack products found in sporting goods stores - they are NOT designed for shipping live animals and can get TOO HOT and actually prove deadly to your precious cargo!  Also, when using the Cryopak Phase 22 packs (which are GREAT for shipping!), we do recommend putting them in a ziplock bag (in rare cases they have been known to leak a bit).

General Temperature Guidelines
Below 40°F
- In weather this cold we recommend you consider not shipping at all, and wait for warmer weather if possible. If you MUST ship in weather this cold, use heat packs!

40°-70°F - Some type of temperature regulation is strongly suggested. If temps are expected to be towards the LOWER end of this range throughout transit, a heat pack (40 hour or longer) may be a good choice for most animals. If temps will be more towards the middle or upper end of this - range or are expected to fluctuate within the range (e.g. shipping from a cold area to a warmer destination) - a true heat pack may be too much for some animals (some sensitive animals (crested geckos, some chameleons, etc) do not fare well above 75 degrees, so if it's 60 degrees outside, a true heat pack in a 7x7x7 box will probably get too hot). In a case like this, a warm Cryopak Phase 22 is a great choice as it can help keep the temp inside your box moderately warm without getting too hot. Place a Phase 22 pack in boiling water for about 2 minutes, carefully remove (with tongs!), and let it sit at least 3 minutes before putting it in the box. In temps below 72 degrees, it will gently release it's heat energy inside your box as the pack undergoes "phase change" from liquid to solid, thereby keeping the contents of the box slightly warmer, without getting too hot like a true heat pack might do.

70°-85°F - Phase 22 packs are also good in this range. Cool them down (place in freezer for a few hours (or fridge overnight), then wrap with a cloth or paper towel before putting it in your box. It will gently absorb heat, and help keep the inside of your box a nice low to mid 70's temp.

85°-95°F - Phase 22's are again highly recommended. Cool the packs down place in freezer for a few hours (or fridge overnight), then wrap with a cloth or paper towel before putting it in your box. They will gently absorb heat as they change from solid back to liquid, and help keep the inside of your box closer to a mid 70's temp. If you're certain your box will be in the upper end of this range for the entire trip, use multiple packs, and maybe a Thermafreeze Cold Cell as well.

Above 95°F - In weather this warm we recommend you consider not shipping at all, and wait for cooler weather if possible. If you MUST ship when the shipment will be exposed to temps above 95°F, you MUST use cold packs! We also strongly recommend you ship HAL (Hold At Location) to a FedEx ship center for pick up.

These are only general temperature guidelines. You should always consider specific temperature needs of the species you plan to ship, the temperatures in the shipment origin location, and temperatures in the shipment destination location and adjust packaging as needed.

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