Guide: How to Ship Live Reptiles

Responsible shipping is important for the providing safety to the animals, quality service to your customers, and maintaining a healthy reputation for the hobby. It isn’t that hard but can be daunting the first time around.

For this reason, MorphMarket has partnered with our friends at ShipYourReptiles to produce this new condensed guide of the key steps and common pitfalls:

Guide: How to Ship Live Reptiles

Let us know what you think about it, and if we missed anything essential. Note that some topics, like how to use a heat pack, were too involved to explain this article but we’ve provided links to the fuller explanation.


I haven’t looked into yet but is it difficult or expensive to get a box certified? I know a few companies that can print custom shipping boxes and it might be an interesting way to stand out a little.

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Getting Fedex Certified is completely free well except for the cost of the box you will send to Fedex, while it is a great way to demonstrate that you are capable or properly shipping live reptiles you will pay more using your own Fedex account.

Third parties that allow you to print a shipping label get a volume discount due to their volume giving you in turn a great discount on Fedex prices, those companies have specific contracts and are certified themselves allowing their customer to ship live reptiles without having to be certified.

I am Fedex certified but I used my account for a short term until the first 3rd party company was created.


So in order to use any of the third party shippers, it has to be their box? I thought it just needed to be any certified box and you can put their label on it.

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You can use any box so long it does meet certain standards, obviously it needs to be sturdy and not be easily crushed (which would be part or the Fedex certification if you decided to go through it).

Companies that allow you to print labels to ship do sell the supply and they are very competitive. They have the perfect boxes with foam insert and at around $3.50 a box it will be hard to beat.

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Yeah, the cost will be a thing I’m willing to deal with. I priced them out and it’s not that bad, I’m not shipping hundreds of animals though.

Hi guys,

I know I’m late to the party, but I’ve been out of the office on holiday for the last couple of weeks. I just wanted to point out a couple of things related to the original question.

You don’t need to get your specific box certified if you’re shipping through SYR or other already certified third-party shipper, however, if you don’t buy your box from us, you need to make sure that the box you do use has a minimum burst strength of 275 pounds and includes a minimum of 3/4" foam core insulation on all six sides. The box needs to be new or in like-new condition with all the flaps intact and it should not have any markings on it that indicate some kind of questionable content (ie: pictures or symbols of alcohol, weapons or the like).

Another option to purchasing custom-made boxes is to order custom packing tape. Some breeders have their logo printed on a roll of wide packing tape and use that to close up the boxes they buy from SYR or other sources. This option allows you to brand your box while still being confident that you’re using SYR certified boxes marked specifically for shipping reptiles.

Happy shipping!

Director of Accounts @ ShipYourReptiles

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Over the years in this business I’ve shipped a whole pile of animals all over the country, in various weather conditions ranging from great to horrific, and i’ve received a lot of shipments as well. These shipments that came in varied from overpacked to “oh my god” packed, so in order to combat the lack of knowledge and technique many show in this endeavor I have whipped up a guide on how you can successfully ship your reptiles safely and effectively.

Check it out here:


Good to know stuff. But are you sure UPS doesn’t allow reptile shipping? Cuz Underground Reptiles uses them. I just know cuz I ordered a tree boa from them to a UPS hub that was over an hour away, and UPS screwed up, and couldn’t find it. Even though tracking showed it to be there. I yelled at them, how can you scan a box as arrived, then immediately lose it. Luckily UGR used a long heat pack, cuz didn’t get it till the next day. I’m never using UPS, or buying from anybody that uses them again. I know mistakes happen. But, that was pathetic. It could’ve died cuz of a stupid mistake.

UPS no longer allows snakes to be shipped though them however, they used to and some old account that have been grand fathered in are still allowed to do so.

Now when it comes to delays, losses or inability to track UPS and FedEx have the same issues and it just happens. In has little as 3 years I had 8 packages delayed for 24 hours, not much you can do as a shipper to prevent this.


Great post !!

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Correct! I’ve been approached by young, eager UPS sales reps at least 4 or 5 times and every time they do not believe me, I tell them OK then, if you can get me permission to ship snakes then you have my account. Every one has come back a few days later saying OK, sorry, you were right all along… Haha