Informative — July 6th, 2020 — If you just purchased a reptile from Cliffhanger Reptiles or any breeder, you will likely receive it in the mail. Reptile shipping can be scary if you've never done it before. Here are CR's tips and tricks to properly receive a bearded dragon.
What to Expect When You Are Expecting A Bearded Dragon (or other reptiles) to Arrive
At Cliffhanger Reptiles, we've received countless reptiles from other breeders. As an industry-standard, most breeders use FedEx for live animals. According to most breeders, FedEx's Live Animal Desk is the best option. Thus, Cliffhanger Reptiles uses FedEx to ship all live animals to their forever homes.
It seems simple. One must wait by the door until the FedEx driver shows up with your package, and then your bearded dragon has arrived safe and sound. However, it's not entirely that effortless.
Once you've scheduled your shipment, make sure that you have the tracking number. It will give you all of the needed information while your reptile is in transit. If you live especially far away from the nearest FedEx Ship Center, the breeder will likely require that you pick your animal(s) up. FedEx guarantees three delivery times based on your location. If you live close to the destination sort facility (the Ship Center), FedEx ensures that your package will arrive by 10:30 in the morning. This time frame is ideal for reptiles as it minimizes transit time. Those who are located farther away from the facility are guaranteed delivery by noon. While noon isn't horrible, 10:30 is better than any later time.
If someone is located far away from the facility or is in a very rural area, delivery is only guaranteed by 4, or even 8, in the evening. At Cliffhanger Reptiles, we require that those individuals pick their animal(s) up at the facility. It may be a hassle, but it's for the safety of the animal(s). If you are working with Cliffhanger Reptiles, we make specific arrangements that fit your schedule. If you live in a rural area and delivery is not guaranteed before noon, we'll book the shipment on a day that you can retrieve it at FedEx (we will send you the address).
Now is when a tracking number comes in handy. Make sure that all of the information presented (on track.fedex.com) is what you would expect. Once you enter your tracking number, the site will show the estimated delivery time and the package's location. If you have a FedEx account, you can log in to see even more details. If you are confused, never hesitate to ask questions.
With or Without a Signature
When shipping to your home address, Cliffhanger Reptiles, by default, does not require a signature. The reasoning is simple: If the resident did not answer the door, the package would go back on the truck for 24 hours. A delay like this would be a significant disadvantage for the animal and could result in a tragedy. However, Cliffhanger Reptiles, like most breeders, is not responsible for doorstep thieves. Thus, it is the customer's responsibility to be attentive and wait for the package to arrive. It's sad to think that someone would stoop as low as to steal a package. Nonetheless, if you live in a neighborhood where someone might snatch your box (whether truthfully or as a thief), ask for a direct or indirect signature to be required. In doing so, realize that you must receive the package on the first delivery attempt.
What's in The Box?
Reptiles ship in insulated boxes. The box should indicate that there is a live animal inside. The shipping label will be on the top of the box, and that is the side to open when ready. The inside of the box varies per breeder, so we'll explain what it's like to unbox one of CR's packages. Once you open the flaps, there is a sheet of insulation with emergency instructions on it. The purpose of this paper is to instruct a FedEx advisor what to do if he or she must open the box. One can discard this paper. Underneath the top layer of styrofoam, the customer will see a bundle of documents. These include a read me page (with some reminders), a letter to the new owner, the invoice, a certificate of shipment, and some keepsakes like business cards and a pen. When shipping in extreme weather, you may see a heat pack or Phase 22 pack. You won't need these.
After a little digging, you'll see your new animal. It is important not to put your reptile in a preheated enclosure. Putting him/her in a room-temperature enclosure will allow him/her to acclimate to the right environment.
How Does One Unpack the Reptile?
If you are unboxing a bearded dragon, follow these steps:
1.) Do not preheat the enclosure; keep the heat lamp off.
2.) Turn on the UVB bulb for some sunlight.
3.) Place your bearded dragon in the enclosure.
4.) Wait one hour, then turn on the heat bulb.
5.) After a few hours, offer some greens.
6.) Do not bathe your bearded dragon on the first day and keep handling to a minimum.
7.) Turn the lights off at the standard time.
8.) Notify us if any issues arise.
A Note About Delays
While they are uncommon, delays can happen. If a delay occurs, there is no need to worry. The chances are that our team has already seen it, and we are likely on the case. Keep an eye on the tracking information, however. If you know of a delivery exception and we haven't contacted you, let us know.
If there are exceptions on the tracking number and the package hasn't arrived several hours after the guaranteed time, shoot us a message, and we will file a claim with FedEx. Please do not call the national FedEx line. They are generally unfamiliar with the Live Animal Desk. Once they open a case, we are unable to open one ourselves, which could result in more delays.
In addition to our staff closely monitoring all shipments, our shipment manager, Debbie Price (with Reptiles2You), is an expert on live animal shipping. She thoroughly understands each one of our deliveries, just like we do. If an issue comes up, contact us or Reptiles2You at https://www.reptiles2you.com/.
You've just shipped your first reptile. If you have any further questions, please read our shipping terms or read our Care Central pages.