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Sep 17, 2019

Ask Us #7

How can you tell if a FedEx shipping center is authorized to receive live shipments?

Jon G.

Because FedEx does not have a shipping classification for live animals, live reptiles and aquatics are categorized as "Dangerous Goods," although we all know that they are not, in fact, dangerous. As a result, only specific FedEx locations are authorized to accept live animals. These are called FedEx Ship Centers. FedEx Office, Walgreens, and franchised locations (confusingly enough called Authorized Ship Centers) cannot accept live shipments. Every once in a while, you will find an Office, Walgreens, or franchise location that will accept live shipments, however, this will be at the manager's discretion and they are absolutely within their right to refuse your shipment if it is live. Additionally, an Office, Walgreens, or franchised location that once accepted live shipments may change their mind without notice and may decide to stop accepting live shipments. Because of this, we always recommend that you take your shipment directly to a FedEx Ship Center. This is also true if you are shipping to a FedEx location to be held for pick up--Office, Walgreens, and franchised FedEx locations almost always refuse live shipments, meaning that we need to have the package rerouted back to the station for pick up, resulting in the animal(s) spending the entire day on the back of a truck until the evening, when the driver makes it back to the station. 

To find your nearest Ship Center, go to the FedEx locator, search your (or your recipient's) zip code, and from the "More" drop down to the right, select Dangerous Goods Shipping. This will filter out all the ineligible locations, leaving you with only the Ship Centers that will accept live shipments, from closest to furthest. Ship Centers can be few and far between, so it may mean that you're in for a mini road trip to get your package into the FedEx system. Your other option, temperatures permitting, is to have your shipment picked up directly from your work or residence for $5 per pick up, regardless of however many packages you have going out. If you opt to do this, give us a call at 303.730.2125 or email us directly at info@shipyourreptiles.com either the morning of or the day prior to request a pick up. FedEx will request a three to five hour window during which they will come pick up your package(s). 

When shipping to a Ship Center for pick up, we have a handy tool that you can use on our booking page to determine your recipient's nearest Ship Center. Under Ship To, select "Ship To FedEx Facility." Type in your recipient's zip code, and the first location in the drop down will be their closest. Select it, and our system will autopopulate the address--all you'll need to do is type in your recipient's full name as it appears on their government-issued photo ID, and their phone number. If you are shipping to a facility to be held for pick up, please let your recipient know that they will need their photo ID as well as the tracking number in order to pick up. 

If you ever need help locating a Ship Center, please let us know and we'll be happy to look it up for you! 

How do you deal with heat packs in this weather?  It’s too hot during the day, but it’s too cool at night to not have one.

David H.

Shipping in Fall and Spring can be tricky, as different parts of the country can have very different weather conditions. When we look at temperatures, we only look at the daytime high, because during the lows (which almost always happen overnight), packages are either in a plane or working their way through a FedEx facility, both of which are temperature controlled. The planes FedEx use are big and hollow, meaning that the entire plane is a cargo hold. Because of this, the planes need to be temperature controlled and pressurized for the safety of the pilots and crew. FedEx hubs are huge indoor facilities that are similarly temperature controlled. Because the majority of transit happens after the origin stations close in the evening, the only real exposure packages face is during the trip from the stations to the airports at the origin, during loading and offloading at the hubs, and then from the airports to the stations and out for delivery to the destination. Loading and offloading of the planes at the hubs does not take long, so the effects lower temperatures might have on the packages are minimal. Our required 3/4" foam insulation works very well to help maintain steady temperatures inside the box when it goes through these brief exposure periods.

That said, we do have temperature guidelines in place to protect your animals during transit. If both your and your recipient's daytime highs are between 38F and 69F, you will want to use a minimum 40+ hour heat pack. Hand warmers are strictly prohibited, as they peak at extreme temperatures up to 180F, which can, and sadly, have, resulted in the overheating and death of the animal(s).

If you are shipping between two different temperature zones, please contact us for a recommendation. We will consider the temperatures, species, box size, and various other factors to give you the best chance of success. If you ever have a doubt, please do not hesitate to reach out to us--we would much rather you ask than have to guess, especially when it comes to heat pack use.