Can I Ship Live Animals with USPS?

Learn about the kinds of live animals you can ship with the US Postal Service, and what to do if your animals can't be shipped with USPS
ship live animals with USPS

You can ship certain live animals with USPS, but your options will be severely limited, and you will need to follow strict packaging instructions.

The Types of Live Animals USPS Allows You to Ship

While USPS is mostly always the premier shipping carrier of choice, it doesn’t offer the most leeway for shipping live animals. The following live animals are what the United States Postal Service will allow you to ship:

  • Honey bees
  • Day-old poultry (chicks)
  • Adult birds
  • Scorpions
  • Other small, harmless cold-blooded animals (geckos, lizards, etc)

Keep in mind that you’ll need to strictly follow USPS protocol for shipments containing any of these animals mentioned above. For packaging instructions on each of these specific types of animals, visit the USPS landing page 562.

Pro Tip: Shipping School has quick go-to resources for some of these animals! Check out our guides on How to Ship Live Bees and How to Ship Live Birds and Poultry.

What if I Need to Send a Different Kind of Animal, Like a Pet Turtle?

If the live animal you need to ship doesn’t fall into any of the above categories, then you may need to choose a different shipping carrier. In this case, UPS will be the best carrier of choice. With the exception of FedEx’s special snake handling partnerships, UPS allows for more types of animals to be sent within their network. We’ve listed the types of animals UPS accepts below:

  • Amphibians (All) – Examples: frogs, salamanders, toads
  • Cephalopod (All) – Examples: squid, octopus, nautilus
  • Crustaceans (All) – Examples: crabs, crawfish, lobsters, shrimp
  • Fish (All)
  • Insects (Limited to beneficial insects only) – Examples: bees, butterflies, crickets, lady bugs
  • Mollusks (All) – Examples: clams, mussels, snails
  • Reptiles (Limited to the following):
    • Lizards, such as chameleons, geckos, iguanas, monitors, and flying dragons
    • Turtles, such as freshwater turtles (excluding snapping turtles), land tortoises, and sea turtles
  • Worms (All)

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