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How to Pack and Ship a Turtle or Tortoise

shipping a turtle

Shipping a turtle or a tortoise is pretty easy. All you need to do is pack the animal correctly and it will arrive fine. If the weather is questionable, nor around a holiday, ship your turtles another day. Here are tips on how to properly pack and ship a turtle.

Place the turtle or tortoise inside a sock or pillowcase depending on its size. Doing this reduces stress and movement in the animal. On the bottom of a small box with some air holes punched into it, put a layer of packing peanuts and place the animal inside.  Place more packing peanuts around and on top of it. Make sure that the packing material is loose enough so air can still flow, but not too loose that the animal can move around. Its a good idea to put the receiver’s shipping info on the inside box as a precaution in case the larger box gets damaged. Close and seal the small box with tape.

Get a bigger box that can accommodate the smaller one and place some packing peanuts on its bottom.  Place the smaller box inside the larger box and pack more peanuts around and on top of the smaller box.

Close the bigger box and tape it up securely. Address and label the package with “VERY FRAGILE” and “THIS END UP” “LIVE HARMLESS REPTILE” with arrows pointing up.

For aquatic turtles, use a plastic container with punch holes on the lid. Put some sphagnum moss or wet paper towels around the sock to keep it moist. Really small aquatics can be shipped in containers with just sphagnum moss.

When shipping larger species like Sulcata tortoises, you may have to use a crate.  A dog kennel works fine.

Take note of the temperature of your location and the new destination. If it’s either too hot or too cold never ship an animal as it could overheat or freeze.

The best time to ship turtle and tortoises are from April 1st to November 1st. Some shipments can be made outside of the guidelines depending on temps between were from and where to a shipment will be made. Always consider the shipper’s stopover depots. If shipping must be done in the colder months, place a  heat pack inside the package.

Companies that ship turtles include: UPS, FedEx, and Delta Cargo.  USPS does not ship turtles.

Always ship Express overnight and only on Monday or Tuesday.  Never ship near a weekend  so you don’t have to worry about an animal being stuck in a sort facility over the weekend if anything goes wrong.

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