Breed Report: Air Travel Tips for Transporting Reptiles via Cargo

Breed Report: Air Travel Tips for Transporting Reptiles via Cargo

When transporting reptiles via cargo, you must determine the following:

  • What are the reptile transportation regulations for the destination state or country?
  • What airlines allow the transport of reptiles via cargo?
  • What are the shipping container requirements for your reptile?

Reptiles are fairly easy to maintain as pets, thus pet owners often obtain a pet snake, lizard, or turtle. Reptiles that are native to the US, are considered wild animals; while if they were not native to the US, they are considered exotic animals.

The ownership and transportation of wild and exotic animals is regulated by multiple entities and permits may be required for their transport. When transporting reptiles, contact the destination state or country and US Fish and Wildlife Services to determine the transportation regulatory requirements.

There are risks associated with the transport of reptiles on commercial airlines. Thus, not all airlines will transport reptiles. If their transport is allowed, airlines will require that the reptiles be transported in containers that comply with the International Air Transport Association (IATA LAR). For the safety of the animals and those overseeing the shipment, shippers must ensure compliance with IATA LAR. The shipping container/crate must properly contain and protect the animal. It must also promote animal welfare and promote safe transport.

If you need further guidance, please contact Dr. Nelva J. Bryant of When Pets Fly at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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