Five Steps for Successful Reception
Almost anyone who has ordered a reptile or aquatic creature to be shipped to them has watched an “unboxing video” at some point or another—a video that shows the happy recipient excitedly cutting into their box, unwrapping the contents, and showing them off for many oohs and aahhhs.
But if you’re a first-timer, you might be a little nervous about how to safely receive and unpack your newly shipped animal. Today’s topic is good for newbies as well as experienced sellers that might be looking for a concise list of tips for their first-time buyers.
1. Be Prepared
Don’t wait until the animal is “on its way” to start considering where it is going to live. You’ll need to have its enclosure already set up and ready to be lived in before the seller puts the package into the hands of FedEx. Once FedEx has it, it’s literally only a matter of hours before it will be at your home. Make sure your new animal has a safe, secure environment ready to move into right away.
2. Be Present
Although we don’t recommend the “signature required” feature of delivery, we do strongly recommend that the recipient be home the day of delivery. Watch for the truck and be ready to accept the package as soon as it arrives. In addition to watching for the truck, check the area around your front door often, in case you missed the driver and they’ve already dropped it off. (They can be a little “ninja” when their schedules are tight.) The more time it is left sitting on the porch, the more at risk it is for temperature extremes or theft.
If you can’t be home on the day of delivery, consider having the shipment held for pick-up at your local FedEx Ship Center (hub). At least there, you can be confident that it is secure and kept in a climate controlled building until you can arrive to claim it.
3. Be Observant
Have a camera ready. Photograph the condition of the box as it arrived, especially if you see any signs of damage. Also, take pictures of the packaging material inside the box as you open it. Is the insulation in place? Is it damaged or clean? How was the heat pack (if one was used) attached? Having clear evidence of all these elements might be crucial if anything has gone awry with the health and wellbeing of the animal inside.
Has the animal been secured in a clean, proper deli cup, fish bag, or reptile bag? Keep in mind that the seller has no control over whether or not the animal might have soiled its container along the way, but if a cup or bag looks old and unsecure, you might need a record of it.
Make careful note of the overall appearance and health of the animal when you remove it from its container. Reptiles may feel cold to the touch. That’s normal, so long as they are not freezing. They may appear to be stressed. This is also normal. But if you can, take a moment to check for and photograph any overt signs of illness (ie: bubbling at the mouth, or ich on fish) or physical injury.
4. Be Thoughtful
Now is not the time to play with your new pet. Once you’ve given them a quick, physical exam, it’s time to let them go into their new home. For reptiles, place them in the coolest zone of their enclosure and let them gradually warm up at their own pace, with plenty of fresh, clean water available. For aquatics, the bags should be floated until temperatures equalize between the shipping water and the water in their new tank.
5. Be Professional
As soon as you’ve received your shipment, examined the animal(s) inside, and gotten them settled into their new home, be sure to let your seller know they have arrived safe and sound. Any good seller cares about their animals and will want to know they are safe.
Also, if anything has gone amiss with the delivery, it’s critical to alert the seller right away, as well as alerting ShipYourReptiles or ShipYourAquatics. The faster we all know about an issue, the better chance it has of being resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.
What if my shipment has arrived late?
All the above still applies. If you and your seller have opted for our On-Time Arrival Insurance, you or your seller should contact our Customer Service staff within 7 days of delivery for a full refund of the shipping cost.
What if my shipment has arrived damaged?
All of the above…with as much documentation (photographs) as you can. Then contact ShipYourReptiles or ShipYourAquatics immediately. We will walk you through any additional steps that might be needed.
The same holds true if your shipment arrives late and the animals are deceased. If you and your seller have opted for Live Arrival Insurance (only available on reptiles at this time), you have only four hours from the moment of delivery to make your claim. Contact us immediately for more instructions.
What if I’m scared to handle my new animal?
Many new reptile owners may feel nervous about reaching blindly into a bag to pull out their first pet snake. Even seasoned owners may be wary of handling a defensive snake or lizard that might pack a fierce bite. If that’s the case, you can simply untie the bag and/or loosen the lid on the deli cup, then place the container directly into the animal’s enclosure. They will emerge when they are ready to.
Always remember that we’re here for you. When you ship through ShipYourReptiles or ShipYourAquatics, you should never need to deal with FedEx yourself (except to drop off and/or pick up a package). If you have any questions or concerns about ANY aspect of your shipment, please contact us and we’ll do all the work for you!
We wish you all many happy Unboxing Days!