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31 July 2018

Shipping to Exotic Lands

Of course, we’re not talking about Timbuktu or Canada. Within the U.S. borders, there are a few exotic lands that you may wonder about shipping to. These include AlaskaHawaiiPuerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. What is involved in shipping to these far-flung points of the United States?


There are no specific state-wide restrictions on shipping animals to Alaska. The primary challenge with this exotic state is its location.

Because of the remoteness of some areas, Alaska has limited FedEx service. Some locations require one or more additional days for Priority Overnight shipping, and there are some locations with no FedEx Express service for at all. 

AnchorageFairbanksEagle RiverChugiakKenaiSoldotna, and Homer have true overnight shipping, meaning that a shipment to a zip code within one of these cities will arrive in one business day.

For any other city, you should make sure that Priority Overnight service is available before shipping. You can pre-determine the guaranteed delivery date and time by running a Quick Quote from the ShipYourReptiles or ShipYourAquatics websites. Input your zip codes and package information, then check the “Transit Time” column to see if your package would arrive the following day. If the information listed in that column says N/A, then FedEx does not offer Express services to that area at all and you should NOT attempt to ship your animals there using our services. 

If you ship to a location in Alaska that is not serviced Overnight/Next Day by FedEx, this falls outside of ShipYourReptiles Terms of Service and insurance coverage will not be valid.

If you have any questions about whether FedEx services address you are shipping to, please contact our Customer Service.


With regards to restrictions, Hawaii is the extreme opposite of Alaska. Almost all animals (including reptiles and aquatics) are banned from being shipped into the state. Shipments are rigorously inspected and the penalties for importing banned species are extreme. The shipper AND the recipient may be fined up to $200,000, may spend up to three years in prison, and may be responsible for all costs relating to the capture and destruction of the animal(s) involved. 

Click here for more information on importing animals into Hawaii from the U.S. mainland. 
Click here for specific lists of banned species. 

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico will allow the importation of a very select few species of reptiles: 

  • Ball pythons
  • Garter snakes
  • Redfoot tortoises
  • Sulcata tortoises
  • Veiled chameleons

All animals must have a completed USDA health certificate signed by a licensed vet and made out to the recipient in PR.

All shipments of exotic species must be shipped to the airport FedEx facility. 

A $20 surcharge is added to the final cost of all PR shipments. 

Shipments being sent to PR may not be booked online. They must be booked directly through the ShipYourReptiles Customer Service. Please allow at least 24 business hours for the request to be processed. 

U.S. Virgin Islands

All exotic animals (basically anything that isn’t a domestic dog or cat) require an import permit and health certificate to be transported into USVI. These permits cost $25 per animal.

According to the USVI Department of Agriculture, snakes are not allowed to enter. 

All applications for import permit must be submitted to the Veterinary Services of the USVI Department of Agriculture. Instructions and applications can be found here. 

Shipments being sent to USVI may not be booked online. They must be booked directly through the ShipYourReptiles Customer Service. Please allow at least 24 business hours for the request to be processed. 

It is 100% the responsibility of the shipper to know and understand all the laws, restrictions, and risks of shipping exotic animals.

When shipping to Alaska, the remoteness of the land and the sometimes extreme weather conditions must be taken into consideration.

The tropical island states and territories may be more accessible for shipping, but they are extremely protective of their local, isolated ecosystems. Due diligence must be taken to understand the laws and regulations involved in shipping to these areas.

Carelessness in any of these matters can lead to the unnecessary death of animals, stiff fines, and prison. 

As always, we are here to help in any way we can. Please contact us with any questions on shipping to these more challenging zones, or to order shipping labels for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. 

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