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General Chit-Chat Forum Discussion about general topics that are really off topic concerning corn snakes, or just about any old chit at all.

How To Pack Snakes For Shipping
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:00 PM   #1
How To Pack Snakes For Shipping

A member here recently received a snake, shipped by another member here. He was disappointed by the not-so-great packing job. I thought it might be nice to have a reference here for people who haven't had the luxury of receiving snakes packed by the best, so they could learn by example! I've picked up packing tips from several members here, notably John Finsterwald, Carol Huddleston and Kathy Love. I feel like my method is as safe as it can get.

The shipments pictured here were packed for "neutral" weather, leaving Florida at 90F in the afternoon (where they sit in the Fed Ex office, cooled, till they get on the truck at 8:00 PM) traveling to Memphis, where the Fed Ex hub is, and virtually all Priority Overnight shipments go there for much of the night- temp 57F, and then on to their final destinations in Colorado and Ohio where the predicted low was 55F. So I wanted to start out cool, and used refrigerated, not frozen, gel packs.

Other times you might want to keep the box colder with frozen gel packs, or warm with 40 hour heat packs. If in doubt, feel free to drop me a PM and I will advise you as best I can, or tell you to call in one of the _real_ experts!

First thing is I like to have a variety of shipping supplies readily available. I like the 12 x 9 x 6 box for most shipments, and sometimes the next size up, 15 x 11 x 7. I get them, and most supplies, from Superior Shipping Supplies. I also keep on hand foam peanuts, newspaper, ziplock bags, gel packs, 40 hour heat packs, big rubber bands, scotch or electric tape for taping delis shut, 3M Heavy Duty Packing Tape for taping the boxes, yellow Perishable labels available for free from FedEx, clear plastic airbill envelopes, available free from FedEx, and various deli cups and snake bags in a couple sizes, from Superior. A sharpie for writing on delis, and a highlighter for outlining some info on the shipping label. CareFresh and paper towels for packing the snakes.
Old 09-28-2011, 06:02 PM   #2
First, assemble the box. Triple tape the center seam, and single tape the ends.
Old 09-28-2011, 06:05 PM   #3
I use boxes with 3/4 inch insulation. You can buy boxes with 1/2 inch insulation, but it doesn't save much. You might think that the insulation is for, insulating, but really it is to protect your box from crushing. When you send in your test package, the FedEx testing center puts it in a machine that attempts to crush it with several hundred pounds of pressure. The thicker insulation is an important safety measure.
Old 09-28-2011, 06:06 PM   #4
I label the boxes with bright fluorescent labels with large lettering and hope someone along the way pays attention.
Old 09-28-2011, 06:08 PM   #5
The busy FedEx workers may not take the time to read your nice labels, but they all know what the yellow Perishable stickers mean! They don't even have to read it, they know it by the color.
Old 09-28-2011, 06:09 PM   #6
A juvenile or adult snake goes in a bag. Check the corners to make sure the bag is secure! Put your finger inside the corner and push hard! The snake certainly will. Add some absorbent paper towels for cushioning and in case the snake voids on the trip.

*edit* It is VERY important to check the corners of the snake bag/pillowcase to make sure they are intact. The snake could escape, which is bad, but a large snake may become trapped and injure itself.
Old 09-28-2011, 06:11 PM   #7
When the snake is in the bag, tie the top with a knot. Make it very tight, so the snake can't crawl through the knot, but not so tight the person has to cut it to get the snake out. Then if the bag has ties, fold the top over and wrap the ties VERY tightly around the neck of the bag, and tie them in a bow.
Old 09-28-2011, 06:12 PM   #8
If the bag doesn't have ties, I've seen people use plastic cable ties instead.
Old 09-28-2011, 06:14 PM   #9
I ship babies in CareFresh. It's soft and absorbent. You want to pack the deli cup very full. You don't want the snake to have room to shake around if the box is thrown or dropped.
Old 09-28-2011, 06:16 PM   #10
Make sure the delis are clearly labeled with all the info you have on the hatchling, including registration numbers of the parents if you have that. I can't tell you how many times I have referred to an old deli cup for pedigree information when registering a snake months later!

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