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Old 03-13-2007, 02:12 PM   #1
Shipping skinks?

I wanted to ship a skink to someone, and was planning to use UPS, but the UPS folks tell me I can't ship a live animal unless I am an "authorized shipper" (ditto Fedex).

Can anyone recommend a shipping service that will allow me, as a private individual, to ship a live skink within the U.S.?

-- Celeste
Old 03-13-2007, 02:32 PM   #2
correction made

The big 3 (FedEx, UPS, DHL) all have small animal shipping waivers which are required, by policy, to ship live critters. You didn't say what kind of skink, but USPS does accept lizards.

it seems that UPS does not require a waiver to ship permitted animals
Old 03-13-2007, 04:13 PM   #3
Thanks for the info, Harald! Can you tell me how to get one of these waivers, as the local UPS Stores and the customer service folks at 1-800-GO-FEDEX don't seem to know about them...

-- Celeste
Old 03-13-2007, 05:24 PM   #4
The easiest way is to set up an account online. Then contact your account rep and tell him/her that you want to get the waiver to ship live reptiles (with DHL, it is a live animal waiver). Finding, and making initial contact with your account rep is the most difficult part of the process.
If this is just a one time deal, you may find it easier to locate a UPS or DHL facility (not a shipping store) and just go in and ask. You may get lucky and be told that a small lizard is no problem. The other option is to just call them and set up a pickup, and hope they take it (don't try that with FedEx). The down side to that option is that the company policies state that if they have reason to believe that you are shipping anything illegal, or in violation of their TOS), they can stop delivery at any time...meaning that your package could get stuck en route.
Old 03-13-2007, 09:58 PM   #5
How come I can't find anything in the "shipping animals" guidelines that states that you have to have an account with them in order to ship? I just had a skink shipped to me by a person that doesn't normally ship and does not have an account. I printed off a copy of the shipping animals guidelines page for him to have in hand when he shipped. When he got to the station and asked if they ship live animals, the gal didn't know so she was going to check, and he said " I just happen to have a copy of your accepted animals." She looked at it and said "Well, I guess we do ship live animals." My skink was on his way here with no problem. Maybe try that.. here is a link to the page I copied...
Old 03-13-2007, 10:51 PM   #6
I guess that explains why I couldn't locate the UPS waiver info on my computer earlier.
I have heard comments about people being authorized shippers with UPS before, though...both from UPS and "authorized shippers"
Old 03-16-2007, 05:15 PM   #7
Ramie's link was *very* informative -- thank you very much! Do you have any idea what is meant by the paragraph on that web page which states:

"Package Testing: Any packaging used or developed to transport animals should be submitted to an International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) certified package testing laboratory for pre-shipment testing in accordance with ISTA Procedure 3A before being offered for transportation." ?

It sounds like there's still a hoop to be jumped-through before shipping a skink... Can I *purchase* ISTA certified packaging anywhere, or do I need to *get* my packaging certified by them (which sounds similar to the process required by Fedex)?

-- Celeste
Old 03-16-2007, 05:54 PM   #8
I'm still looking into the "ISTA Certified Packaging" requirement, but in the meantime, I found this on a U.S. Postal Service website:

9.3.3 Small Cold-Blooded Animals

"Small, harmless, cold-blooded animals (except snakes and turtles) that do not require food or water or attention during handling in the mail and that do not create sanitary problems or obnoxious odors are mailable (e.g., baby alligators and caimans not more than 20 inches long, bloodworms, earthworms, mealworms, salamanders, leeches, lizards, snails, and tadpoles)."

found at:

However, I have had NUMEROUS experiences with USPS "Overnight" service actually taking more than one day... So I would personally not recommend shipping a live animal with them...

-- Celeste
Old 03-16-2007, 06:18 PM   #9
Just found this company:

they seem to carry a great selection of shipping products.

I asked someone there (who shall remain anonymous), and was told that the ISTA requirement just refers to a crush strength, and that their boxes meet that crush strength. I also read on an archived leopard gecko discussion forum
that the requirement says "should" be tested, not "must"...

O.K. -- armed with that info, and the recommendations of others that one should go through an actual UPS *facility*, not one of their franchise "stores", I'm ready to go back and talk to some actual UPS folks about shipping as a private individual.

Wish me luck!

-- Celeste
Old 03-16-2007, 08:33 PM   #10
UPS does not have packaging "requirements". If you reread that statement, all it is really saying is that you should make sure your packaging is suitable for the intended purpose...not that they require you to submit it for testing.

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