REDLINE SHIPPING IS A DOMESTIC U.S. SERVICE ONLY
Redline Shipping Standards
Temperature Guidelines and Standards
Packaging Live Shipments
Using Heat Packs and Cold Packs
Redline Shipping Customer Service
Shipping and FedEx Information
Redline Shipping Insurance
Billing and Shipping Costs
Do you have a how-to video showing the packing process?
COMING SOON to a YouTube near you!
The Right Way to Pack a Live Animal Shipment
The following is a step-by-step guide to packaging a Live Animal for shipment. Exceptions for specific species needs are noted.
1. Gather your shipping supplies.
- Redline Shipping Kits contain everything you need:
- Insulated box of the appropriate size
- Zip tie
- Deli cup and/or cloth reptile bag, matched to type and size of animal
- Heat pack
- Cold pack
- Self adhering label envelope
- Lacey/IATA label
- You provide the packing material (usually crumpled newspaper or craft paper).
- FedEx requires you to use certified packaging from Redline Shipping, which meet or exceed Redline Shipping Standards.
- If using a heat pack, start it warming one hour before boxing. More info
- If using a cold pack, freeze it the night before. More info
2. Prepare the shipping box
- Insert the insulating foam panels on the bottom and sides of your box if necessary.
- Ventilate the box by punching four 1/4" holes with a Phillips screwdriver (two holes on opposing sides, four holes total). Punch them from the outside in, going through the box and the insulating foam. Do this before you put anything else (especially your reptile) in the box.
- Create a nest with packing material.
- Crumpled newspaper works well. Line the bottom and sides of the box so the deli cup or reptile bag will rest securely in the nest.
- Not all shipments require a heat pack! In fact, most do not need them. Please refer to the Directions for Use and our Temperature Guidelines to determine whether or not your package needs one. If you do use a heat pack, please read the following carefully:
8 Critical Points for Heat Pack Use
- Activate the heat pack at least an hour before use. Remove outer wrapper, shake vigorously, then wrap in a towel to allow proper heating.
Heat packs should never come into direct contact with the animal bag/container.
There should always be crumpled newspaper or other packaging material between the heat pack and animal bag/container.
Heat packs require oxygen to work. Airholes (two ¼” holes at each end of the box, four holes total) are critical to allow enough oxygen to reach both the pack and the animal.
The heat pack should never be placed under an animal bag/container, as it will result in a high likelihood of DOA.
The heat pack should be taped securely (do not rely on the adhesive back) to the underside of the insulated foam lid. DO NOT cover the red stripe with tape!
Failure to comply with the above points will INVALIDATE Live Arrival Insurance.
Lastly, we do not recommend heat pack use in any box smaller than the 12x9x6. If you need a heat pack with your shipment, you should use the 12x9x6 box or larger.
- Tape the heat pack to the underside of your lid (do not rely on the adhesive back), red line visible. Do not tape over the red line. Don’t use a heat pack that feels hard or stiff. The red line should face the interior of the box.
- Aquatic shipments require a plastic liner around the contents inside the box to catch any potential leaks.
- FedEx will typically discard any box they find leaking fluid, without warning or notice. Your shipment will just disappear. There is no coverage or reimbursement for a leaking, discarded package.
3. Prepare the deli cup or cloth bag
- Inspect the cup or bag to make sure there are no cracks, holes in the bag, or weak spots.
- Deli cups should always be safely ventilated with small holes.
- Using a Sharpie pen, label the cup or bag with species and sex.
- Invertebrate shipments will need an extra level of containment around the animal.
- Place it in an appropriate sized cup or vial, and then place that sealed and ventilated container into a larger one.
- Make sure air holes and cushioning are provided throughout the layers.
- Aquatic shipments require water-filled bags that are resistant to punctures and leaks.
4. Inspect the animal
- Absolutely NO VENOMOUS REPTILES are to be shipped through FedEx or Redline Shipping. Absolutely no mammals or birds.
- Only ship a healthy animal, with good weight. Do not ship within 48 hours of feeding a snake, or 24 hours of feeding most other animals.
- Be 100% confident in the animal you’re shipping. Go over it in detail, so you know exactly what your customer will see when opening the package.
5. Put the animal into the container
- Leave the animal room to move, but not so much they can get slammed around during transport. Use packing material as a cushion, and to absorb any waste.
- Bag — Inspect the bag to be sure there are no holes, broken seams, or loose threads to tangle in. We prefer to use a zip tie to seal the bag for total security (one is included with each shipping kit). Some shippers tie their bags, others use tape and some use a combination of methods. The main thing is you want the bag to be closed securely.
- Deli Cup — Tape completely around the rim. Be sure not to cover the air holes. Re-punch air holes if necessary.
- Fish bags — Fill the bag only ⅔ to ¾ full of water. Allow extra air at the top of the sealed bag to provide some oxygen transfer during shipment.
- An extra liner inside the fish bag may be necessary when shipping spiky corals or aggressive fish.
6. Put the container in the box
- Nestle the cup or bag into the nesting material. The container should not have room to jostle inside the box.
- Fill in above the container with more packing material.
- For Aquatic shipments, a plastic box liner is required around box contents and must be securely closed.
- Put on the top insulated foam panel/lid, with the heat pack or cold pack (if needed) facing down.
- Put your receipt, caresheet and other paperwork on top of the insulating foam lid. Place your LIVE REPTILE label—the one that comes with your shipping kit—on top of the foam lid. This LIVE REPTILE note should be the first thing a person sees when opening the box. If your LIVE REPTILE label has been lost or damaged, you can download another here.
7. Label your package in accordance with the federal Lacey Act
- You are required to mark the outside of the package with a complete list of the animal(s) inside, including quantities, common names and scientific names. A Lacey Act/IATA label must also be included. These can be ordered from Redline Shipping as decals, or you can print your own on plain paper and tape it to the box. More info on the Lacey Act here.
8. Fasten the label and ship
- If you haven’t already done so, enter your package and shipping info into RedlineShipping.com and purchase your shipping label.
- You can print your shipping label directly from the RedlineShipping.com site. You will also receive a confirmation email with a downloadable file of your label to print.
- If you are using a thermal label printer, the label will be self-adhesive. If you print your label on regular paper, place your label inside the provided label pouch and affix the self adhesive pouch to the top of your shipping box.
- We recommend dropping your package off at your nearest FedEx Ship Center (hub). FedEx Office locations, Mailboxes Etc, Walgreens and other satellite locations are not allowed to accept live packages.
- Find your nearest Ship Center location here. Use the Filter and select the "Dangerous Goods" filter to weed out everything except the qualified FedEx Ship Centers.
- You can track your package progress using your FedEx tracking number on the home page, just below "Quick Quote" at RedlineShipping.com or from the FedEx tracking page.
If you have any questions or issues with your shipment, please contact us directly. You are a Redline Shipping client, not a direct FedEx client. We will be able to get you answers and action far faster should a critical need arise. We’re also here to answer your questions and clarify all your tracking and claims issues.
Call us at 303-347-0500 or Contact Us. No question is too big or too small.
A Quick Guideline for Packing
For specific rules and details regarding the packaging of live reptiles, see Redline Shipping Standards and The Right Way to Pack a Live Shipment.
Always follow these general packaging guidelines:
- Use an insulated (¾” or greater) rigid box with flaps intact.
- Box must be new, or like new, with no unrelated markings (alcohol, hazardous materials).
- Use adequate cushioning material. Crumpled newspaper works well.
- Use strong tape designed for shipping. DO NOT USE DUCT TAPE, SCOTCH TAPE OR MASKING TAPE to seal your package.
- Do not use string or paper over-wrap.
- Use a single address label with clear, complete delivery and return information.
- Place a duplicate address label inside the package.
- Fasten the Lacey Act/IATA label to your box where it can be clearly seen but does not obstruct the shipping label.
Which shipping kit should I order?
Shipping kits come with 3/4" foam insulation panels on all six sides. To get a visual of how much space is inside the box, subtract ~1.5" from each of the box dimensions. For instance, a 12x9x6 box would have an interior space of 10.5 x 7.5 x 4.5 inches. You also need to allow for some room to add padding around the animal(s) on all sides.
The larger the box, the more expensive it will be to ship, so you want to choose the smallest box possible that will allow your animal to safely fit with padding around it. You might consider "test packing" in a box or tub you have at home to get an idea of how much space you actually need, then choose the kit size that comes closest.
As always, our Customer Service staff is happy to help you figure it out!
Or call 303-347-0500
Monday thru Friday
8am Eastern to 7pm Pacific
Choosing a Deli Cup vs. Cloth Reptile Bag
Use a deli cup for small, delicate animals. The more delicate the animal, the more it needs the structure of the deli cup. Use a deli cup for small creatures such as baby colubrids, geckos, frogs, or anything that might get lost in a bag.
Use a cloth reptile bag for larger reptiles that have more size and weight.
When shipping large and small animal in the same box, we recommend placing the smaller animal in a deli cup, as the structural support can help prevent accidental crushing by the larger animal.