box turtle

 Scooter the Box Turtle
When we acquired Scooter we were not sure of gender but later discovered Scooter is actually a female. She does not mind her name and we chose not to change it.

Click Here to learn about Scooter

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Shipping a turtle or tortoise

Items needed:
  •  2 boxes (one box that fits inside another box) with some air holes punched into it  (No outer air holes in winter)
  • Styrofoam packing peanuts
  • Pillow case or sock
  • Packing tape
  • Heat pack if during colder months. Heat packs are not reliable below freezing temperature.

 Place the animal inside a pillowcase, or a sock if it’s a smaller species. This helps reduce stress and movement. Put some packing peanuts on the bottom of the smaller box. Place the animal inside and pack more packing peanuts around and on top of it. Loose enough so air can still flow, but not too loose that the animal can move around. I always write the receivers shipping info on the inside box as a precaution in case the larger box gets damaged.

Then place some packing peanuts on the bottom of the bigger box, then place the smaller box inside the larger box and pack more peanuts around and on top of the smaller box.

Tape up securely. I usually mark the box “VERY FRAGILE” and “THIS END UP ” “LIVE HARMLESS REPTILE” with arrows pointing up. Making a label to be printed up and taped to the box using a word program makes this easy.

If you are shipping an aquatic turtle using a Tupperware type container works well with sphagnum moss or wet paper towels around the sock to keep it moist. Really small aquatics can be shipped in containers with just sphagnum moss. 

For larger species like Sulcata tortoises you may have to use Delta Dash and the tort will have to be shipped in a crate (one for dogs works fine).

Always keep an eye on the temperature for where you are shipping from and too. If it’s either too hot or too cold never ship an animal, it could overheat or freeze. 

We follow a shipping season of April 1st to November 1st. Some shipments can be made outside of the guidelines depending on temps between where from and where to a shipment will be made. Always consider the shippers stopover depots. If shipping must be done in the colder months use a  heat pack (available at Carolina Pet Supply).



UPS will ship live animals. Here’s a link their policy:

You can also set up an account with FedEx to ship live animals, but that is a bit more involved. I had to send a ‘test’ package before being approved. You can also ship via Delta cargo, call them to get specifics: 1.888.SENDPET

USPS does not ship turtles. They will ship some live animals, but turtles is not one of them.

You have to make the choice to use the shipper you feel most comfortable with. I always arrange for pick up to be done from my home at the end of the day.

Always ship Express overnight and only on Monday or Tuesday so you don’t have to worry about an animal being stuck in a sort facility over the weekend if anything goes wrong. Occasionally there may be a delay. If the turtle is packed correctly it will arrive fine. So always be sure the turtle is packed comfortably and for the weather and never, ever ship if the weather is questionable, nor around a holiday.

You can print a label to be taped to the side of the box from here:

Reminder: Heat packs are not reliable below 40° - Do Not Ship!


 Shipping materials
Materials needed: Inner and outer box, packing peanuts, sack (pillow case, sock, etc) tape, heat pad if cold, marker.

Placement of heat pack.

Shipping box side view
All four sides are marked as shown. Air holes are punched in box unless it's very cold outside. Then no holes in outside box.

Shipping box bottom view
I mark bottom of box so it's kept upright.

Tort in sack and placed on bottom layer of packing peanuts.

Inside box closed up and secured with rubber bands or tape. Make sure tort cannot open.

 Inside box placed with address
I always place address and phone number of receiver on inside box.

 Packing peanuts placed on top of inside box.

 All boxed up ready to go
Label attached and ready for pick up or drop off to DHL.



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