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Old 06-12-04, 11:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation How To - Ship In Canada...

Hi there everyone:

Well we finally got around to putting together a post of shipping methods we do for our customers. Since there have people asking and trying to understand this process and wanting to learn as well we thought this was the right time for this post. Also there are sellers who state no shipping and many buyers wishing they would and this easy step by step method might help people try it out.


We have been asked on many occasions by our customers and potential buyers to help people understand shipping snakes across Canada. After a long while trying to organize a post for it we finally got something put together. We feel a visual display explains better than trying to express it over chat networks or phone calls. This is our style and we feel it is a standard method used by many reputable sellers and breeders. We will try to explain it best we can from organizing a sale to arranging the flight information to confirming the snake is in its new home.


Once you have been contacted by a potential buyer either via phone, net, or referenced by another past customer and they have chosen the snake or snakes they want to purchase from you. You make arrangements on how payment or agreed terms are to be completed by you both for the shipper to start the shipping process. As the shipper you must get the following information from the buyer to arrange a flight. The following information is needed:


Once you have this information work out with the buyer / receiver a flexible shipping date and time frames. This schedule will need fine tuning once you arrange the actually flight with an airline carrier. This time frame must be followed after to ensure the least amount of stress on the snakes.


Here you get ready and call the airline direct and arrange a flight booking. You must have a few things ready before you start this process. Being organized makes this function very easy. Here is the list of what you need to be ready for when the airline carrier begins the paperwork.

1. Have your package measured (height x length x depth – in metric or standard measurements).
2. Know the weight of the package when ready to ship (box and packaging and animals, and etc).
3. Have your information ready (name, address, and phone number).
4. Have the buyer / receiver information ready (name, address, and phone number).

From this point you arrange with the airline the booking as agreed with the buyer / receiver so everyone understands a plan has been made. Remember airlines want shippers to bring in the package at least 1.5 – 2 hours before the flight time. Also the package cannot be fully sealed as they may want to inspect the box. Once that is complete you can seal the box and pass it to the airline crew. It is best to call the airline to arrange all this because they log everything in their computers at that moment and tracking of the package is made so much easier. I do not arrange shipping at the airline because at times it is done on paper and have noticed it becomes more complicated and more headaches occur.

WESTJET CARGO NUMBER – 1 – 866 – 952 – 2746 toll free
AIR CANADA CARGO NUMBER – 1 – 888 – 247 – 2262 or call your own city location.

Once this booking is complete confirm with the buyer / receiver this booking is correct and it is agreed on by you both. This part is now complete and the next stage begins.


This is discussed between the buyer / receiver and the shipper and arranged after with the airline. Meaning the price maybe added to the animal cost, or paid at the airline before or after shipping. But it must be discussed and arranged before the rest of this process continues, to avoid misrepresentation of the facts.


The shipper must follow airline guide line rules in shipping reptiles and they can ask the airline on booking day what those are at that time. But the general rule is something like this the package must be big enough that the animal has about 4 inches clearance from top to bottom, and all 4 sides. That the box be strong enough and have a Styrofoam inner layer be no less than ½ an inch and in must cover every side of the cardboard box meaning sides and top and bottom. There must be support put in the package for the animal, anything from shredded or crumpled newspaper to Styrofoam nuggets. Also the reptile needs to be in an inner package. This means is if the animal is small and can fit into a Rubbermaid or Tupperware tub or a pillow case for larger animals. This inner package must be secure and sealed from accidental opening in the shipping box. And last but not least this inner package as well as out packaging requires air holes in each and you must provide a heat source to keep the animals at required levels for safe transport.

Now I will show photos of our step by step process.

First get a strong solid clean box (new or used) as long as it a strong solid clean box and begin with layering the box with Styrofoam sheets, we use ¾ inch material and prefer it over less sizes. It makes the box almost bullet proof and really protects the animals inside. Then place a layer of support material - shredded or crumpled newspaper to Styrofoam nuggets.

Now you’re ready for the inner containers for the animals. Each animal must be prepared in a single container – never get cheap and put more than 1 per container. Make sure each animal has enough elbow room but not too much that they get hurt in the container. Seal these separate containers and label them to help the receiver / buyer know what each animal is and its sexes if you have not sexed the animals they must be labeled saying so.

Place each animal in an equal spacing in the container, if it is only 1 then the middle is perfect otherwise arrange them to equal spacing. They sit on the 1st layer of support and are now ready to get addition side support and you must make everything a nice snug fit.

All of this done, your ready to complete the support and put a top layer in the box.

At this time you must consider locations for heat packs, we use at least 2 per box. One on the side and another either bottom or top. Depending on the flight location and time of arrival the animal may need more heat packs.

Now just place the top layer of Styrofoam sheet to secure the whole inner part of the package. We make a hole on the top or side so the receiver can pull the top off after when they get the package. Because we make everything solid and secure this hole helps with opening the inner part.

Now you’re ready to label the box. It is always better to print out in a large clear form, warning labels and all the shipper / receiver information for the airline to know this package is very important and that it is easy to read. Place all this information on the top of the box. Place warning labels on the side of the box and indicate with arrows package must be placed in plane and anywhere else facing up as indicated.

Now once the package is at the airline cargo zone and it has been inspected by the airline booking agent your ready to seal the box. Seal the box to ensure the packaging is tight and secure. Try not to block any air holes and the shipper / receiver information. Now this package is secure and safe for transport. Remember airlines want you there 1.5 – 2 hours in advance before the scheduled flight. So plan ahead and make this process easy for all involved. This packaging time takes about ½ hour and depending the distance from you to the airport add additional travel time.


Now you must contact the receiver that the shipment is as planned and on its way. They will need the following information, which is the same as the planned information with additional points.


The shipper must provide this information as soon as possible before the flight leaves. The shipper must call the buyer / receiver with this above information. We call and email it in full as a record keeping method.


As you can see we photographed this whole process and we do this with every customer and also packages sent to us. It is a form of reassurance for both parties and provides some security knowing we both did the best to follow this process. If then the receiver wishes to see photos of the shipped box for reference we comply via email transfer.


Also if you choose to buy insurance with the airline taking photos as the shipper or receiver would be a great idea to prove an insurance claim. Only Air Canada has insurance at this time being. Insurance is roughly $3.00 per every $1000.00 of coverage. There may be restrictions and rules to follow in getting insurance and that is best that the shipper ask about it with the airline.


As the buyer / receiver you must confirm with the airline time of arrival and make arrangements to be there for pick up as early as possible. The animals are under stress and they are best picked up early and placed in their new homes as fast as possible.

Also as the buyer / receiver you must contact the shipper via phone call and also email. Letting them know the condition of the animals and package. If there is something negative about how the animals arrived it must be communicated with the shipper and airline. And dealt with at that time.

Receiver / buyer must see the animals before signing release from the airline, if done in reverse you may be dealing with the airline or shipper after and the headaches are not worth it. Always inspect what you’re getting before leaving the airline or you will be held responsible for the package after.


Depending on the agreement you made with the seller / shipper you may have a guarantee on live arrival and even a time frame for animal protection of health and death issues. An example is 24 – 48 hours ensuring that the animal arrived safe and secure and healthy. The buyer / receiver and shipper / seller discuss this before anything is arranged with the airline.


This shipping method is the way we do business and try and provide the best solution to ensure that the animals arrive safe, secure, warm, healthy, and alive. This system works for us and if done exactly the same it should not create any headaches. We believe the animals come first and they get our respect to provide them the best shipping process we know and can provide.

Thank you for reading, we know it was a long read but explaining this on chat interfaces or email can never be explained as using this site to help us explain it better.

We thank the people of for letting us provide this explanation.


PS. I think adding this additional post helps people better understand the full process from buying to shipping and receiving an animal.


Tony Pharosx

Last edited by BOAS_N_PYTHONS; 06-12-04 at 01:29 PM..
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Old 06-12-04, 12:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Perfect Post on how to ship you can't go wrong with how you did it.

Great post tony!

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Old 06-12-04, 01:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good stuff. And its about to get a LOT different in Canada when Air Canada is no longer going to be offering heated flights. They've sold off all the heated cargo planes. NOW, we'll see who knows how to properly package reptiles. For sure.
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Old 06-12-04, 02:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Great piece of information Tony, we need more people like you in this hobby...
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Old 06-12-04, 03:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for your Time and Effort Tony...Well Done!

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Old 06-12-04, 03:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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whoa, lol. i could pack an order before i read that. its great information however. i have seen some mighty bad packing jobs in the past. one where the animal actually showed up frozen.
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Old 06-12-04, 06:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Jeff_Favelle
Good stuff. And its about to get a LOT different in Canada when Air Canada is no longer going to be offering heated flights. They've sold off all the heated cargo planes. NOW, we'll see who knows how to properly package reptiles. For sure.
If this is the same rumour I heard, from a mutual friend of ours, I did some checking into it.

The "long term plan" is to phase out the heated cargo planes with some with no heated cargo, to be done in about 2 years. A lot of people have already bitched about it, and I was told it will never happen, just like the last many changes Air CAnada had thought about making.

They still need heated cargo for a lot more than just reptiles, and I'll bet my first blackhead python baby that Air Canada will not phase out their heated cargo planes.

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Old 06-12-04, 06:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi I have a complete list of shipping requirements on all reptiles for Air Canada straight from there own regulations guide. Thick book that it is. If anyone wants a copy let me know. TB
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Old 06-12-04, 10:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Old 06-15-04, 07:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you all.


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Old 06-15-04, 11:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Awesome post, VERY useful information especially for those (like myself) who will be doing stuff like this for the first time in the next year or so.

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Old 06-25-04, 08:24 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'll definitely be using this post in the near future. Nice and explanitory!
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Old 07-01-04, 12:50 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Thank you, I try and contribute as much as I can to help others make this hobby as easy as possible for all involved.


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Old 07-01-04, 07:41 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Well written and easy to follow. A kid can even do it. lol

This topic should be pinned or listed under FAQ if it isn't already. I don't check FAQ's very often and neither do most people. Maybe pinning it somewhere or linking it might be a good idea.

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Old 07-01-04, 08:04 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Very good post. That's how I've been doing it but I picked up some labling ideas.
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