Shipping ball pythons is a stressful task especially when you are doing it for the first time. Regulations, fine print, fees? This is a recipe for lots of research and huge headaches. So I’ve simplified it here for you.
As of now, Fedex is the only courier service that lets you ship live snakes across the United States. The problem is there isn’t just a “ship an animal” option on their website to create a label.
Then there is the fine print….ooh that pesky fine print.
Fedex Terms and Conditions doesn’t provide much detail on how a live snake should be packaged. Here’s the catch: if you don’t follow their requirements they may not accept your package to ship. So that’s where these third party websites come in.
“If approved by FedEx, we may accept non-venomous reptiles, amphibians, live/ tropical fish and beneficial insects on an exception basis under the following conditions:
- Shipments must be from a business to a business (from a breeder to a pet store,
- The shipper must have its packaging tested and pre-approved by FedEx Packaging Design and Development for the type of animal being shipped”
These are the websites that make shipping your ball python as easy as print, pack, ship:
Best Ball Python Shipping Websites
You can use your own supplies and create a label directly from Fedex, but for that you will need to make sure your supplies comply with Fedex and federal shipping regulations on shipping live animals. This includes proper shipping labels, proper containment, and proper packaging.
Here are the top websites that I’ve found to easily ship your reptiles, specifically ball pythons without having the hassle of figuring out everything on your own AND each of these websites offer a deep discount on shipping charges.
Each website has a variety of shipping supplies they sell and each has their own pros and cons. Here they are:
Shipyourreptiles.com is part of AllProShipping.com that ships non-venomous reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, fish, and corals within the United States.
They offer supplies and supply kits that will help get your shipment out safely and most importantly alive.
Their shipping kits range from $22-$35 or you can purchase the supplies separately. Their largest kit comes with a box that is 30x16x10. Shipping is 1 cent to get the kits to your house so it’s basically free!
They conveniently have a free quote estimator on their homepage where you can enter your package dimensions and weight and your zip code and the ship to zip code.
I use this website for all of my shipping needs and shipping costs an average of about $50-$60.
Even though Shipyourreptiles.com has a wide variety of animals they can ship they do have a limit on the size of the animal they will ship.
So, as long as you’re not shipping giant anacondas, this shipping service is the one for you.
|Do they offer supplies?||Yes|
|How much does it cost?||Average of $50-$60 for shipping label|
|Is it free to use?||Yes|
|Do they offer Live Guarantee?||Yes|
|Limitations||Animals must be smaller than 4 inches in diameter and less than 8 feet to ship with ShipYourReptiles.com; no venomous reptiles.|
Reptiles2U is a reptile shipping service website that takes pride in their years of experience
According to their terms and conditions Reptiles2You members are allowed to ship live NON VENOMOUS reptiles and amphibians (NO VENOMOUS ANIMALS!, and no mammals or birds), as well as of course any normal (non hazardous) items, to and from business and residential addresses.
It’s free to join, but you have to sign up for a “membership” in order to ship your snakes through them.
To sign up for a membership you’ll have to provide your name, address and email. Not too invasive since you won’t need to give your credit card information until you checkout.
They conveniently sell reptile shipping supply kits that are approved by Fedex or you can even buy their supplies separately as needed.
Their shipping kits range from $12-$17(+ $22 shipping) and go up to size 15″x15″x7″. They sell larger boxes individually as well.
You can purchase a shipping label from them, but you can only get a price by signing up for their membership, providing your name, address and email.
Their label costs are similar to others at around $50-$70 depending on the dimensions, weight and location.
They do not offer a live arrival guarantee. Instead they rely on Fedex’s 98% on-time arrival to guarantee shipment.
|Do they offer supplies?||Yes|
|How much does it cost?||Average of $60-$70 for shipping label|
|Is it free to use?||Yes, with a membership sign up|
|Do they offer Live Guarantee?||No|
|Limitations||No mammals or birds can be shipped through the; no venomous reptiles|
Reptiles express is another membership based service that allows you to ship reptiles and amphibians.
In order to be approved for a membership they have to call you to verify your information. A nightmare for people with phone phobias.
They’ll also make you apply for a membership before getting any pricing.
To sign up you’ll need to enter your information including name, address, phone number and credit card information.
The best part about using this website is that the website is very user friendly. While creating the label they provide nearby Fedex drop off locations AND estimated arrival date.
They sell shipping supplies and shipping kits with their kits ranging from $12-$14(+$20 Shipping)
Their largest kit is a 11x11x7, but their largest box goes up to 30″x16″x10″
Their shipping costs anywhere between $50-$70 for the label which is normal for what we found across all websites.
|Do they offer supplies?||Yes|
|How much does it cost?||Average of $50-$70 for shipping label|
|Is it free to use?||Yes, with a free membership sign up|
|Do they offer Live Guarantee?||Normally yes, but recently suspended due to COVID|
|Limitations||no venomous reptiles|
How do I ship a ball python across the country?
Once you choose which website suites you best, follow these steps for a worry-free shipping experience.
Step 1 Gather your supplies
One of the most important factors in shipping your ball pythons through Fedex safely is to get the right supplies.
Luckily the above mentioned websites make it easy for you since they all supply Fedex approved packaging for your reptiles.
According to the Fedex Terms and Conditions on shipping live animals “The shipper must have its packaging tested and pre-approved by FedEx Packaging
Design and Development for the type of animal being shipped… It is the responsibility of the shipper to adequately package shipments for all temperature extremes and handling conditions.”
When you use your own supplies you should include:
- an insulated box which is a simple cardboard box with foam insert lining,
- A cloth bag,
- heat/cold pack(depending on the weather)
- proper labeling
- Stuffing material such as packing paper or polyester stuffing
Step 2 Make sure the weather is good!
Weather is an important factor to consider when shipping your ball python. You do have the option of adding a heat pack or cold pack to your packaging, but it only helps to an extent and won’t protect against extreme weather conditions.
Shipyourreptiles.com provides these weather guidelines to guarantee safe arrival of your ball python:
Below 38°F: Don’t ship. Wait for warmer weather.
38-69°F: Use a heat pack per our directions.
70-91°F: DO NOT use a heat pack.
92-100°F: Ship to a “FedEx Ship Center” facility (NOT a FedEx Office, Pak Mail, Mail Boxes Etc. or other satellite/franchise location). Your shipment will arrive early in the morning and be kept inside until the recipient picks it up.
Over 100°F: Don’t ship. Wait for cooler weather.
“The above guidelines are according to the daytime HIGH temps. If either the ORIGIN or DESTINATION temperature is 70F or higher, do NOT use a heat pack. Shipping outside of these temperature guidelines nullifies any SYR Live Arrival Insurance. If your daytime high temps straddle two categories, please contact us directly for heat pack instructions that remain within insurance parameters, qualifications and guidelines. Heat pack use in temps above 70F can kill reptiles!” – Shipyourreptiles.com
Step 3 Coordinate with the buyer
Along with the weather conditions it’s best to collaborate with the buyer to make sure they can pick up the snake from Fedex or meet the deliverer at the destination.
Fedex Priority Overnight is required for all live animals, but you still have to make sure the ball python isn’t just sitting at the facility or at the front door for too long, especially if the weather is finicky.
You can always have the package left at the Fedex Hub to be picked up if you and the buyer choose to, but make sure your communicate that first and send it to the hub the buyer chooses.
Step 4 Choose Your Shipping Servicer and Print your Labels
Even though Fedex is the only company that ships live snakes, it is best to choose one of the above mentioned websites to ship your reptiles.
Fedex requires that the packaging is “tested and pre-approved by FedEx Packaging Design and Development for the type of animal being shipped.”
These websites make it easy and provide Fedex approved packaging for you.
The shipping label is critical in getting the snake to the right place and the right time. Just as important are the box labels that state what’s inside and how the package should be handled like the IATA label for example.
The Federal Lacey Act requires you to mark the outside of the package with a complete list of the animal(s) inside, including quantities, common names and scientific names.
An IATA label must also be included that is correctly marked with a check or circle the appropriate animal.
Step 5 Package to Fedex’s standards
Once you have your labels and shipping supplies, it’s time to get packing!
It should be as easy as throwing your ball python in the box and taping it up, but we will take all measures to make sure that noodle has the best chance at arriving safely.
Of course, make sure the insulation is on all sides of the box, but before sealing it up. I like to make holes for air and circulation. The holes shouldn’t be too large, but large enough for air to get through. For the holes to be effective make sure that they go through the box AND the insulation.
Place the ball python in the cloth bag and secure the opening with a zip tie. The ball python MUST be in a bag or deli cup and not directly in the box to comply with the “triple packaging” required for live animals. 1. the box, 2. the insulation, 3. the bag.
Protect the ball python with crumpled packing paper, newspaper or polyester stuffing on the bottom, under the snake and the top below the covering insulation.
Step 6 Drop it off to a Fedex shipping hub
When the weather is right, the buyer is ready and all labels are in order you’re ready to ship your ball python.
Be sure to get a receipt when you drop it off at your local Fedex Hub so you have your tracking number.
Although Fedex is the only place that ships ball pythons as of 2021, that doesn’t mean to go straight to the website and create your label.
Companies like the ones mentioned here have made it easy for you to follow shipping regulations and remove the guessing game of how your ball python should be packaged to comply with Fedex and federal regulations.
These websites help you ship your reptiles with the proper tools and resources to ensure that your ball python gets to its destination safe and secure.
The safety of your animal is everyone’s top priority, so let’s continue working together to make that happen.
Why not ship ball pythons using UPS?
UPS ships live animals, but snakes are on their list of prohibited animals they will ship(venomous and non-venomous).
Can I use my own shipping supplies?
Yes you can use your own shipping supplies but they must comply with the packaging requirements of Fedex.
What is the cheapest way to ship ball pythons?
Unfortunately Fedex is the only company that ships ball pythons in the U.S. The websites listed here give you a discount on shipping costs, but they all come out to around the same price $50-$70.