Shipping reptiles is a very common process that is quite safe when done correctly. We take great care to make sure your snake will arrive to you safely.
We break shipping up into four phases, each of which is listed below.
After completing your purchase we will reach out to you via telephone or email to begin coordinating shipping. All of our shipments are sent Priority Overnight via FedEx and we typically only ship Monday through Wednesday. We will coordinate the following things with you:
The best day for you to receive the shipment. This needs to be a day where you (or someone 18+ years old) can plan to be home all day to receive and immediately the box. Note: We can ship to commercial addresses, too. Please prepare accordingly if having an animal delivered to your work. If you ask us to ship to your work we are assuming that you cleared this with your employer.
The weather. In the winter it can be too cold and in the summer it can be too hot. Appropriate care must be taken with regards to weather. If it is too hot or too cold we will have to delay shipment. In the winter and summer months this can cause a significant delay between when you purchase your snake and when it can be safely shipped. We can ship safely ship in the mid-30’s but do not ship if it gets colder than that. But don’t worry about the snake getting too cold; all of our shipments are made using insulated and heated reptile shipping boxes. If it is over 90F, we don’t ship. Bottom line is that patience and safety are more important than a speedy arrival. We will ship just as soon as it is safe to do so and we will communicate with you throughout the process.
Why only Monday through Wednesday?
All shipments require a signature for delivery. FedEx cannot leave the box at the door. If the delivery is missed FedEx will re-attempt on the next delivery day. If delivery is missed on a Friday, the next delivery day is Monday. With a live animal shipment, this must be avoided.
Thursday shipping (Friday delivery) is an option but we try to avoid it. Coordinate with us if Friday is the only day that works for you. We can make it happen.
Weekend delivery is not available.
On the actual day of shipping we will do several things:
- We will double-check the weather to be sure nothing has changed.
- We will send you an email re-confirming that you are ready for the shipment.
- We will generate a FedEx shipping label and tracking number. FedEx’s automated system will forward you an email with the tracking number.
You will receive two emails on the day of shipping. The first is titled “FedEx Shipment Notification”. This is the initial notification that is generated just after we create the shipment using FedEx’s on-line system. At this point, the box is still with ECRB. This email contains a 12-digit tracking number that can be used to follow the package as it moves through FedEx’s system. The second email you receive from FedEx will be titled, “Tendered to FedEx”. This email notifies you that the box has been dropped off at FedEx here in Virginia Beach. You will typically receive this email around 6:00-7:30PM EST. This email will also have a link with the tracking number. From this point on, everything is in the hands of FedEx. [bgarea]
Where Does the Weather Matter?
- We operate out of Southeastern Virginia. The weather here matters the least. This is because we almost always take boxes directly to the FedEx hub at our airport. We do this as late in the day as possible, usually around 7:00PM EST. The box is usually on a plane within an hour or so. This means that the weather here in Virginia Beach is not a significant factor.
- Overnight the box will pass through either Indianapolis, IN or Memphis, TN. These are FedEx’s main hubs and all overnight packages pass through one of these locations. We will know in advance (99% of the time) which hub will be used so we can check the weather forecast in these cities to determine if it is safe to ship. The box will spend the majority of the time at the hub so this is the place where the weather matters most. Note that temperature is not the only factor. Memphis often has violent thunderstorms and these storms can also impact flight schedules. It is possible that severe thunderstorm forecasts in Memphis can cause us to delay shipment.
- The weather where you live is the second most important factor. Click here to check the forecast for your location. Depending on how long the box will be on the truck for delivery, the weather in your city can play a major factor in safe shipping.
Using your tracking number and the Internet you can track your package overnight and into the morning. If you are like most people you will track it about a thousand times.
This is the hard part. I recommend going to sleep. Clicking refresh on your browser every 2 minutes will not make the plane fly any faster. 🙂
Early in the morning you should should see that the tracking status of your shipment has changed to “Out for Delivery”. It’s getting exciting now!
Unfortunately, FedEx cannot guarantee an exact arrival time but they typically provide an estimated “delivery by” time. This is usually before noon on the day of delivery but people who live in more rural or geographically dispersed areas may find that their delivery times are even later than that. All you can do at this point is patiently wait. Do not. Please, please, please. Do not decide to ‘run to the store real quick’ in the middle of the morning. Across the years I have found that FedEx is guaranteed to attempt delivery in the 15-minute window you just happened to be out at the convenience store. Once the box arrives please open it right away. Please don’t forget to send me an email, a text or a phone call to let me now your new snake is safely with you.
If you receive an email on delivery day with the title “FedEx Delivery Exception” you need to immediately contact FedEx (800-GO-FEDEX) and/or us. We will be trying to contact you via phone, text and email, too. The number one reason for a delivery exception is that FedEx attempted delivery but nobody was home. If this happens you need to immediately call FedEx and nicely explain that your shipment contains a live animal and ask them to please contact the local office and request that the driver come back and re-attempt delivery. If the driver cannot come back you will need to ask the FedEx rep where the box will be at the end of the day so you can drive there in the late afternoon/early evening and pick it up. It is important to avoid having the animal spend an extra night in the box, especially during extreme temperatures.
Can We Speed Up the Process?
Yes! If you would like to avoid the extra wait while your box is “Out for Delivery” you can choose to have the box held for pickup at your local FedEx distribution center. This typically means you can pick the box up at 9AM (your time) rather then waiting for it at home. This is our favorite option because it all but eliminates the weather as a factor on your end. All you need to pick the box up is the tracking number and your picture ID. You can even decide this after the box is with FedEx. If the box is supposed to come to your address but you decide overnight that you want to pick it up you can use the tracking link and change the status of the package to “Hold for Pickup”. The on-line system will provide you with the address where the box can be picked up at 9AM. [/bgarea] If you have additional questions about the shipping process, please contact us.