Shipping with Covid-19

I’m just wanting to find out how established breeders are handling shipping right now with the virus. Are you putting a mandatory hold period until the quarantines are lifted? I use Ship Your Reptiles and they have removed the option for their live animal arrival guarantee, understandably because of delays. I’ve warned all potential buyers that there is a higher risk in shipping right now and that I’m willing to keep the snakes until things settle down. A couple of the buyers would still like me to ship this week anyways. But how does a DOA normally get handled as well? Is it a full refund? 50%? Or, in light of the situation, is it considered completely their risk if they opt to have the animal shipped now?


Right now FedEx is experiencing delays similar to the holiday season delays due to an increase in online orders, additionally with more and more federal shelter down orders you are looking at something that is not considered essential.

So shipping is not the best idea right now and the safety of your animals should ALWAYS come first, even if a 24 hours delays usually does not impact the animal when well packed (I had 8 in 2.5 years) there is no reason to risk it.

For me as a breeder if a customer insist in his animal being shipped even if the conditions are risky, I refuse to ship and give them the choice between holding onto the animal until it is safe to ship or give them a full refund (including deposit) and void the transaction, because while I want to make my customers happy, my animals come first and so far all my customers have always agreed for me to hold onto the animal.

Now how does a DOA should be handled? Full refund or replacement for similar animal should be offered whether or not live insurance is available.

All reputable breeders offer live arrival guarantee and usually do so out of their own pockets.


If I may but with covid19 spreading so quickly how risky is shipping reptiles and such?

There is a thread on here about it. Shipping during this time means that you wont neccesarily have a better chance of the animal arriving on time and things like that and fed ex only allows shipping on Monday thru Wednesday I believe

Oh well I was supposed to get my first BEL soon guess I’ll have to wait😥

Just check with the breeder you bought from. I’m sure you guys can sort something out

I just purchased a boa last a week ago from a breeder in Cali on Sunday and it was delivered three days later to CT on Tuesday, it was shipped on that Monday. I was in phone contact with the breeder throughout and worked everything out with him before shipping. It was business as usual for me, snake arrived healthy and active at 09:30. But this is just my experience. Good luck!

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Over the past couple weeks I’ve received an animal, as well as shipped. Both instances they were shipped monday arrived tuesday without issue. Regarding coverage of DOA, that is something that is up to the individual seller and working out with the buyer before the transaction is finalized. I sold and shipped as normal, with a refund if the animals arrived DOA. Thankfully they didn’t.

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I have one to ship out and one to ship in. In a bit of a holding pattern. Does anyone have any new updates on this? Monitoring SYR daily, still not offering live and on time guarantees at this point. My breeder is willing to hold onto the boy I bought and I’m willing to do the same for my customer for the time being. Hoping we can ship soon has anyone else been attempting to ship lately?

I have not I know some breeders still shipping I can tell you I have put shipping on hold until May 4th to see if things are easing up a little, and starting back I only plan to ship on Mondays.

I would like to see them at least offering the live+on time again, even if I didn’t get it myself (not big on protection plans they are a profit racket but another time another place…) it would be a positive sign that things are running smoothly again.

With this being my first male an impatient mistake could be pretty devastating I just need to hold on.


Well most breeder do offer it and usually it is not through third party but out of their own pocket because insurance is a expensive gamble when most of shipment goes as plan.

As for on time delivery it’s really hard because Fedex itself rarely reimburse people for delays they always claim an act of god.

My main concern is 48 hours delays I have been hearing about, 24 hours is fine I have experienced it 48 hours is getting dangerous.

I would recommend you to hold until May 4th and see.


Almost all of my hatchlings from last year are ready to ship out, but my plan now is to follow Deb’s example and wait and see a bit longer. I haven’t put a hard date with any of my clients, but I’ve pretty much said that when there isn’t a Covid-19 banner on SYR is when I’ll start shipping again.


I ship quite a bit. This is the first week where I have had animals delayed. I shipped 10 out yesterday and 2 are stuck at the hub in Memphis. Most delays are one additional day, and the animals do fine. I ship though SYR’s and they contact FedEx and make sure the box is located in a climate controlled building. I do not pay for their insurance… think about it $2.50 for on time, $2.50 for alive, that’s per $100! So you’re paying 5% of your gross income for insurance. That’s a good way to go out of business. I only ship on Monday’s, you don’t want your animals getting stuck over the weekend. I also use cryopak’s they are expensive but cheaper than a dead animal.


Got two snakes recently. One can’t ship at all and so is holding the snake at no additional charge for me until further notice. The other is thankfully close enough that if they can’t ship I plan on just driving to a meet up place.

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I shipped out last night and have one inbound today and both are tracking as on time and currently out for delivery


Hello to all,
This is a topic that desperately needs to be addressed and it concerns everyone, sellers and buyers.
Durring this trying time we have all been faced with tons of challenges, new problems, new fears, and new anxieties. Many snake breeders and keepers have had to refigure the logistics of many aspects of keeping our beloved scaled beauties .
We all love our animals, with a passion and are heavily invested emotionally and finacially in our projects. Which leads me into my topic!
According to Ship-Your-Reptiles, due to Covid 19, (as would be expected) some potential delays are likely. A 24-48hr delay to be exact! Well from 1st hand experience i can attest that I’ve experienced both delays and on-time shipments within the past 2 weeks.


  1. If you are a breeder/seller, and you personally don’t feel comfortable shipping your animals due to the possibility of issues with shipping, then you need to communicate this to potential buyers upon their 1st inquiry!!! Don’t wait until the customer has paid for the animal to bring up your fears and then refuse to ship. Ive heard fellow breeders say, that their concern is for the animal and that they will continue to care for the animal as long as is necessary and if the customer cant comply, that they will refund their money.
    As a seller it is your responsibility to announce this UPFRONT!! Personally i think that a snake
    staying breeder this is fine, and i prefer it (IF) the breeder has a backup plan in case he or her gets sick themselves, and if they get sick likely so will their family…so who will send the animal then? How will they have access to the records to know who gets what…?? This is a real concern, because everyone seems to think that they wont get COV 19,. Or that if they did that they would survive…however this isnt necessarily the case, anyone can die from this regardless of your age or health.
    (Here comes the controversial part)
    Now lets say you are fine with the animal that you paid for, continuing to stay with the breeder and they have sufficient (worst case scenerio) plans that are acceptable. Now comes the 2nd and equally important topic of husbandry practices. (This in particular is my biggest pet peve with many breeders.) Now lets be honest, alot of breeders for a couple of different reasons choose to in my oppinion underfeed the hatchlings that they have for sale… their is absolutly no excuse for a 10 month old ball python to be 300grams! Whether they’re attempting to retain the vibrant colors that a hatchling has in order to be maketable for longer, or reducing feeding costs, or perhaps trying to slow down the competition… whatever, its BS! I certainly don’t do it, and their are many others that dont as well, but ALOT do. So if youre going to keep it there til things clear up with shipping issues, feed the animal like you intend to breed it! Because thats what practically everyone intends to do when they purchase an animal. If necissary volunteer to pay for the additional food, to insure that your animal grows at a desireable rate.
    Depending on how long this Covid issue lasts, sellers that retain animals should voluntarily give regular progress reports. If youre going to accept payment, you shouldnt have any issue doing this.

Anyway, im sorry if ive upset anyone, but i wanted to put these ideas in the forefront of your thoughts. These things should definitely be considered by any breeder that continues to accept payments for animalas durring this time. Im a breeder, and i think we all ahould attemt to be on the same page.

You guys take care of yourselves and with any luck from the Odds Gods we will make it through this trying time!

Thanks for reading, and would love to hear your thoughts on the matter,



There is already a topic about this.


Hey Cam.

You’re right it’s a huge challenge as you can see we have been discussing it here. I’m waiting right now to ship a female out to someone and to get my first male in. I live in Indy which is specifically mentioned on SYR website as being a place causing an expected delay. I’m hoping to ship soon but fortunately both my buyer and the breeder I’m buying from have had great communication with me and I’m confident we will get it figured out in a way that satisfies all parties involved.

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In my oppinion disclosure is everything. If you have been clear about the risks associated with shipping and the buyer is aware and still determined to go for it anyway, then Create a waiver of liability, that explicitly voids any liability on your behalf.
As far as refunds, live arrival gurantees from either you, or syr, should be considered null and void. (Syr has anounced this on their behalf) i recomend following suit. The risk however minimal it may be in my oppinion is still too great to put your name/reputation on the line, to gurantee something that once it leaves your hands is completely out of your control. You of course can gurantee as you already likely do that the animal is healthy before shipping takes place. But i would mention your position, and your current policy to any buyer before any transactions are processed. ( you still run a small risk that some entitled individual will try to leave you a negative review if you didnt provide a refund or replacement ) but thats where the waiver and tip top communication on a case by case basis is key. Overall shipping is being conducted in good form and fasion, but no gurantees. I would recomend however maybe shipping on mondays only, and using 72hr heat packs depending on how far its traveling.