How To Ship Snakes

Are you looking to expand your snake population?

Have you been considering breeding your snakes and selling them?

Whether you are buying or selling snakes, it would be difficult for you to travel across the country to pick up or drop a snake off.

Because of this, snakes are quite often sent by mail, but you might be wondering how to ship snakes.

Shipping snakes means making sure the temperature is right and using the correct packaging so the snake is not harmed. Decide if you want to ship directly through FedEx or use a third party company who partners with FedEx. When you ship, you must also select overnight shipping. 

Shipping a snake may seem complicated at first, but once you understand what you are doing, it becomes a lot easier.

Keep reading as we break down everything you need to know about how to ship snakes. 

how to ship snakes

How To Ship Snakes

If you are interested in learning about the process of shipping snakes, you might feel overwhelmed as you start looking into it. 

There are rules and regulations and general concerns for the snake’s well being. 

You will need to ensure you are shipping in the right weather conditions, selecting the suitable packaging materials, and decide how you want to send the snake.

Snakes must be shipped overnight, no matter what, and should only be sent Monday through Thursday.

Check The Weather And The Date

Snakes are cold-blooded creatures.

This means they rely on external temperatures to regulate their body temperatures.

If temperatures are too hot or too cold, they cannot perform necessary bodily functions, like digesting their food as an example.

When you ship a snake, you need to check not only the temperatures where you are but also check temperatures in the location you are sending the snake. 

Ideal temperatures for shipping snakes are between 70 and 80° degrees Fahrenheit (26° C).

Temperatures won’t always be completely perfect for shipping.

With this in mind, there are some things you will be able to do to keep your snake comfortable and safe during shipping.

A cold or heat pack will become your new best friend as you ship snakes in less than ideal temperatures.

Use a cold pack when temperatures are 85 to 95° degrees Fahrenheit (35° C) and add a heat pack to the package when temperatures dip to between 40 and 70° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C). 

Take caution when adding a heat pack to the shipping container.

Never allow the heat pack to come into direct contact with the animal, placing packing material like crumpled newspaper between the pack and the container holding the animal. 

Be sure you understand how to properly use and attach heat packs before shipping, as improper usage is the number one reason animals don’t make it to their destination alive. 

If weather conditions are 40° degrees Fahrenheit (4° C) or below, it is recommended not to ship and wait until temperatures increase.

It is very risky to send snakes in weather this cold.

The same is true of temperatures over 95° degrees Fahrenheit (35° C). 

It is best to delay shipping so no harm comes to the animal. 

Keep in mind: 

You must overnight your snakes. 

This means you will only be able to send the box out Monday through Thursday, as Friday deliveries are not guaranteed until Monday. 

Pick The Right Packaging Materials

Standard boxes won’t be accepted when you are sending any animal, let alone a snake. 

A strong cardboard box with a minimum of 3/4″ inch (2 cm) foam insulation on all six sides of the box is required to ship a snake.

You need holes for ventilation.

Once you have the box, you will need a container for the snake to fit inside.

Depending on the size of your snake, this could be a deli cup or a cotton bag. 

Prepare the deli cup for the animal by placing a paper towel or other similar liner inside. 

Once the snake is inside, tape the edge of the container, so the animal isn’t able to escape.

Be sure to have ventilation holes in this as well. 

If you are using a cotton bag, add strips of newspaper or paper towels inside to give the snake support.

After placing the snake inside, tie the opening securely.

You need to affix a label to the container or bag with the animal’s common name, scientific name, and quantity.

Surround the cup or bag with packing materials like foam peanuts or shredded paper. 

You want to give the cup or bag enough support, so the animal stays safe in the box and is not tossed around. 

Select A Company

Since both USPS and UPS do not allow snake shipping through their service, you will have to go with another option. 

It doesn’t make any difference if the snake is venomous or non-venomous. 

UPS and USPS will not allow the shipment. 

FedEx is the only major carrier who does allow the shipment of snakes, but shipping directly through them requires you to obtain a Live Reptile Certification.

This means you need to take several tests.

It is a time consuming and expensive process, but if you plan to ship many snakes, it might be worth it. 

There are third party companies who are certified and have agreements with FedEx.

They will even help you correctly package the animal, and supplies are available for purchase if you are having trouble finding just the right packaging. 

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of getting certified, a third party will take away many headaches and hassles for you. 

If you also need to ship your cat or dog with your snake look into using a service like Animal Transportation Worldwide.


Shipping snakes don’t have to be a headache, especially knowing more about how to ship snakes. 

While you might be concerned with the animal’s safety, if you follow the proper packaging procedures and check the date and temperatures, shipping should be successful.

Be sure you are following all shipping standards and legal guidelines as they are put in place to protect the animal.