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29 May 2018

Featured Customer #1

Chris Leone of Garden State Tortoise

We’re starting a new feature that we plan on running once per month where we give a shout out to some of the amazing customers that are currently working with ShipYourReptiles and ShipYourAquatics, get a look at the shipping business from their point of view, and maybe pick up a handy tip or two! 

We’re kicking off this new series with Chris Leone of Garden State Tortoise.  

Chris and his beautiful daughter, Cecelia watching a baby tortoise come into the world.

Chris Leone, owner of Garden State Tortoise (GST), has successfully kept and bred over 80 species/subspecies of turtles and tortoises for more than twenty years. GST maintains one of the most diverse collections of these creatures in the USA, including the largest collection of Testudo species found anywhere. 

Chris’s work does not stop with keeping and breeding. He is very active in the public community via helping local zoos, conservation organizations, and fish and wildlife agencies. He is an active contributor/author to Reptiles Magazine, Testudo Edizioni (Italy),,, The Reptile Report and various social media networks globally. He and his wife Casey run the Terrapin Nesting Project: Leeds Point in an attempt to save south Jersey diamondback terrapins. 

In addition to this, Chris is the Director of Animal Husbandry for theTurtleRoom. He has also done extensive work regarding geographical variation and DNA research in Testudo species. He is a member of the Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group, The Turtle Survival Alliance, The Association of Zoos & Aquariums and is in close contact with many chelonian organizations worldwide. 

Chris has been using ShipYourReptiles since 2009 and, to date, has saved over $30,000 on shipping! 

This is what Chris has to say about working with ShipYourReptiles: 

SYR is really a hassle-free way for us to safely transport our animals. The staff is always incredibly helpful and if an issue arises, they see to it that it’s resolved. I’ve been shipping through them for several years now and have abandoned the earlier ideas of using anyone else. We take pride in what we do here—being an assurance facility involved in both the hobby and conservation—so when it comes to transporting these animals, we want only the best service and the best support system. 

The animals come first, before anything or anyone else so it’s imperative that they travel the right way. With SYR, we feel like eyes are on them the whole way. My wife and I are the very first things these creatures see when they enter the world and no matter how many are born here, it never gets old and they will never receive anything less than what they deserve. Shipping through SYR allows us to feel at ease even when they leave our hands and begin their journey to their new home.

What advice would you give to someone new to shipping reptiles?

Relax. We get emails sometimes from other keepers or simple inquirers asking questions like, “Is shipping safe?” “Don’t you worry about this, that, and the other thing??” Do your homework. Watch weather but don’t only pay attention to it on your end. Use the tools SYR offers and look at weather along the way such as the facility or facilities it will pass through until it makes it to its final destination. Avoid any potential threat and know the truth about temperatures. 

People automatically think that because many reptiles need heat to an extent that means they must need to be toasty for the ride. More often than not this is not the case. Keep your eye on temps. Too cold is a possible issue but guess what? Heat is really the one you want to watch out for. Avoiding extreme temperatures, unfavorable weather patterns and using the proper shipping materials to pack your animals makes for a reliable, safe and secure way to ship them. These are all things SYR offers on their site. Read. Pay attention. It goes a long way. In more than 20 years of working with turtles and tortoises we have NEVER had an animal die in transit. Literally.

Great tip for keeping a deli cup secure in its shipping box!

Follow Chris and find out more about his amazing animals at these sites: 

Garden State Tortoise
Hermanni Haven
Facebook: Garden State Tortoise
Instagram: garden_state_tortoise

"Snarfblatt" the pig-nosed Fly River Turtle, one of many awesome critters at GST!

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