Moving cross country (CA > NYC) with a ball python

Did a search but couldn’t quite seem to find exactly what I’m looking for, so posting here.

Due to my job it’s looking like I may be moving cross country (CA to NY) either this fall or next spring. I have a year old male ball python that will need to come with me when the time comes. He’s a great eater and very healthy so far.

I’m curious logistically how others have handled this in the past - I likely will be driving a small SUV with my stuff, and it seems like I’m not sure I could control the temps regularly enough to take him with via that route (though I’m open to that if it seems safe/healthy to do so). What do you all think of that? The only other alternative it seems is to potentially keep him with a friend until I’m settled in NYC and pay them to ship him the same way he arrived via fedex overnight/SYR.

I am aware of NYC’s restrictions on large snakes and “pythons” - however, none of the city regs I’ve found so far specifically mention python regius (fortunately) - seems unlikely to be enforced at any rate - but then I wonder if SYR would not ship him within the city limits?

Just curious if anyone else has done something similar and how you addressed the logistics involved. Thank you in advance :slight_smile:

If they don’t allow pythons then they’re not going to allow a ball python. I think I remember that NYC doesn’t allow ball pythons.

The law specifically does not indicate that all pythons are included, this is the exact wording - there is no actual restriction on python regius:


Regardless tho, this is pretty much unenforceable, certainly with a single pet snake.

references here:

3/4 websites said that they were illegal. The fourth said that the old laws said that but the new ones didn’t. I would talk to a lawyer about this.

On the topic of traveling, how long are you planning for it to take? Is it going to be around a week?

Yes, I imagine around 7-8 days.

Re the legality - I have of course done quite a bit of research on this - a lot of sites are not snake speciifc or are moving companies with no knowledge of snake species. the law itself does not prohibit the specific subspecies and i’m not overly concerned about it being enforced. There are currently around 80 ball pythons specifically available for purchase here on Morphmarket within the radius the 5 boroughs covers, too, which is all the more reason I’m not particularly concerned about the enforcement of it in the grey area of pythonidae :sweat_smile:

Since nobody has touched on the logistics part: I’d personally go the shipping route and probably pick up at a hub outside of the potential NYC legal gray area. Will be a lot less stress and uncertainty that way.

If your job is paying any relocation benefits maybe you could get the shipping cost covered too?

that was my thought too. And I hope they will be but that is up in the air right now. I’m not too concerned about the cost of shipping him tho, in the scheme of a cross country move, $100 or so thru SYR is pretty whatever.

New York state introduced a law to ban shipping of live animals into the state. However, if it did pass I don’t think it’s gone into effect. Just make sure that you won’t run into problems on that side of things either. I also recommend shipping to a friend for a while until you get there. It’s best to keep the stress as small as possible.


That motion was dropped so that’s not a worry any more.

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Good, more regulation and restriction is the last thing the hobby needs.

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I got some good info and idea from this post:

After all of the disasters people having been describing with shipping, I’m probably going to have all my geckos travel in the car with me when I travel from near Portland, OR to near Washington, DC. I plan to take a thermostat and a heating pad so I can put their deli cups over some mild heat when I’m sleeping. I have one gecko that has vestibular problems, and I’m not sure of the best way to transport her.


Can’t comment on any other species, but shipping ball pythons when packaged properly and in appropriate weather is incredibly safe.


I moved from Southern California to Mobile Alabama with a bearded dragon, leopard gecko, beta fish, 3 dogs, 2 horses, and a pot bellied pig.

The reptiles were placed in bags and put into insulated boxes. They spent the entire trip in their bags and did just fine, arriving healthy and unstressed. The time of year was around March. We were sleeping in our RV. The reptiles didn’t have any extra heat and were not fed, watered or removed from the packed bags until arrival


oh yeah, i totally agree with that. it’s just more the logistics of finding a trustworthy friend to hang onto him for a week or two and then ship him :slight_smile: