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In this guide, we will show you how to safely pack and prepare your Mystery Snails, Ramshorn Snails, Pond & Bladder Snails, Malaysian Trumpet Snails, Nerite Snails and other Aquatic Snails to be shipped, step by step. Having shipped thousands of Aquatic Snails across the US, we've found that our method is the safest and best method to ensure they have the best chance of arriving safely to their new homes all year round!
In case you don't have any of the items I've listed below lying around the house, I've included links to purchase them on Amazon, which is where I usually order these materials from!
- Small Plastic Portion Cup With Lid (We use generally use 2oz or 4oz Portion Cups. You can also use reuse a cleaned Plastic Deli Cup)
- Paper Towels
- Scratch Awl or Bamboo Skewer (Or anything else you may have lying around that is sharp and wide enough for you poke holes in the container to allow air in)
- Packing Tape (Regular Tape should work too)
- Shipping Box (If shipping via USPS Priority, you use the free Priority Mail boxes from your Local Post Office or USPS Website)
- Styrofoam Sheets or Thermal Insulated Bubble Wrap for insulation (Not required if the weather is within 60-80F, however it is highly recommended in case temperatures fluctuate)
- 72 Hour Heat Pack (if temperatures are <60F) or Cold Pack (if temperatures are >80F)
- Newspaper, bubble wrap, shredded paper, or anything you may have lying around that you can use as lightweight filler.
- Sharpie (If you want to write on the container)
- Scotch Low Noise Tape Dispenser (Definitely not needed but a nice-to-have and we absolutely love this tape dispenser as it's super quiet and makes it quicker and easier to tape up containers and boxes. Yes, it is a little pricey, but well worth it if you ship out packages regularly and hate the noise that packaging tape dispensers make)
We normally try to fast our Snails at least 24 hours before we plan to pack them as this reduces the amount of waste they will excrete during shipping as this may foul their container during transit.
Packing Your Aquatic Snails
STEP 1: Place the in the Plastic Cup and dampen it with clean dechlorinated water or water from your tank
Make sure that the Paper Towel is sufficiently damp, but not sitting in a pool of water.
STEP 2: Carefully place your Snails on top of the damp paper towel and cover them with it
Make sure you don't cover them with too many layers of the paper towel, just one layer will do to ensure they are kept moist. Make sure you fill the container with enough damp paper towel to also help cushion them during transit.
The reason why we do not ship our Aquatic Snails in water is because most Aquatic Snails such as Mystery Snails, Ramshorn Snails, Pond & Bladder Snails, Malaysian Trumpet Snails, and Nerite Snails breathe air (as they do not have gills like fish do), and shipping them in water can be dangerous as if a snail dies while in transit, it will foul the water and cause an Ammonia Spike, and may kill the other snails. Shipping them wrapped in a damp paper towel or without water in a sealed fish bag is pretty standard in the aquatics industry as this is the safest method to ship them since they do not require water to breathe, and only need to be kept moist when shipped.
STEP 3: Place the lid over the cup and tape the lid down, then carefully poke holes in the lid
Taping the lid shut will help to prevent it from popping off while the package is in transit, and poking holes in the container will allow air to circulate in the container. If you are shipping different types of snails it may be helpful for the recipient if you label the container with the species, color (if applicable)
Shipping Your Aquatic Snails
STEP 4: Line the Shipping Box with Styrofoam or filler material
If temperatures are within 60F-80F, then using Styrofoam Sheets is optional, although we highly recommend using it in case temperatures fluctuate during transit.
STEP 5: Place the container of Snails in the Shipping Box and fill the any empty space with filler material
Filler material such as old Newspaper, bubble wrap, shredded paper, Packing Peanuts, etc should be used to fill any space between the container and box to cushion the container during transit, as Shipping Carriers often mishandle the packages and may drop or toss the box around.
STEP 6: Add Heat Pack or Cold Pack if needed
During Winter, or when temperatures are between 32F and 60F, we recommend using a 72 Hour Heat Pack to keep the snails warm during shipping. We recommend wrapping the heatpack in newspaper and taping it to the inside of the box, leaving a couple inches of space between the Heat Pack and container of Snails and filling that space with newspaper to prevent the snails from being overheated and allowing the heatpack to "breathe" as it needs oxygen to work.
We recommend holding off shipping the Snails if temperatures are < 32F as the heat pack may not be sufficient in keeping them warm, or may stop working if the temperatures drop below freezing.
If temperatures are between 80F and 95F, we recommend using a Cold Pack to keep the snails cool, along with Styrofoam Sheets or Thermal Insulated Bubble Wrap for insulation as the Cold Pack will melt very quickly during extremely hot temperatures, so lining the box with Styrofoam Sheets or Thermal Insulated Bubble Wrap will help insulate the box better.
STEP 7: Purchase and print Shipping Labels at home or at the Post Office
We generally recommend using (at the bare minimum) USPS Priority Mail, or UPS Ground if this option is quicker than Priority Mail. We ship most of our Snails using USPS Priority Mail, and use PirateShip.com to purchase and print both USPS and UPS labels as it is 100% free and they have some of the cheapest shipping rates out there! They recently negotiated lower shipping rates with USPS, so their prices are actually the cheapest compared to other Shipping Software Competitors, including USPS' own website! It's super easy to create an account with PirateShip, and you save a lot of money and time by printing your labels at home as you can just drop the package off at the Post Office and avoid having to line up to purchase a label. You can even request a package pick up by USPS at your address through the platform!
You can also purchase Live Snail Shipping Labels to use on the outside of the box to encourage the Shipping Carrier to handle the package with more care. However, in our experience we don't see a big difference, as using a label like that doesn't guarantee the package will be handled with more care.