Shipping Guidelines for Geckos . . . . . . Elizabeth Freer

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Elizabeth Freer

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Shipping Guidelines for Geckos . . . . . . Elizabeth Freer

  • Have the box HAL (Held at Location) for the recipient's pick up!
  • ONLY ship Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

  • Monitor temperatures at FedEx Ship Center locations along the way as well as sending & receiving cities' airports.
  • Use (The Weather Channel) to monitor current temperatures along the shipping route.
  • I only ship geckos in April, May, (maybe early June), & then in September, October, & maybe early November.
  • As summer approaches, strongly consider waiting or using Cryopak's Phase 22 packs if any temperature exceeds 80*F (26.7*C)!
  • As winter approaches, strongly consider waiting or combining your 72 hour heat pack with a Phase 22 pack that will keep temperatures in the "SAFE" zone!

These methods work well for 12 x 9 x 6 inch shipping boxes with 1/2 inch styrofoam insulation. Especially in winter the ideal thickness of the box's styrofoam insulation = 3/4 inch.

I highly recommend UniHeat's 72 hour heat pack for shipping. Several years ago I switched to 72 hour UniHeat packs for all shipments at any time. A "2-day delay" = 72 hours from shipping time. The 72 hour UniHeat is the best heat pack by far for shipping, because it peaks at a much lower temperature than all other UniHeats do!


96 hour & 120 hour UniHeat packs are also available!


Make certain the gecko(s) are especially well-hydrated for several days right before their trip!

*** Activate your 72 hour UniHeat pack 6 hours prior to the time you'll seal the shipping box. *** That's 6 AM if you plan to seal up the box about noon. That gives ample time for the heat pack to peak and then begin to level off.

Prepping Sequence for Gecko's 16 ounce Deli Cup
  1. First melt ventilation holes around a 16 ounce plastic deli cup with an electric soldering iron.
  2. Fill this 16 ounce deli cup with loosely packed DRY paper towel strips to prevent your gecko from bouncing around.
  3. Now place one gecko into your 16 ounce ventilated deli cup.
  4. Carefully snap on the deli's lid.
  5. Place this deli cup into your styrofoam-insulated cardboard shipping box.
Caution -- Make certain the paper towel strips surrounding the gecko in the deli cup are DRY. If the paper towels are damp at all, they cause the UniHeat pack's contents to clump prematurely. “Clumping”/hardening kills the UniHeat very quickly.

Surround each deli cup with styrofoam "peanuts" as packing. Some "peanuts" dissolve when wet. Don't use those.

Using a Phillips screwdriver poke 1---> 4 small hole(s) through the cardboard shipping box & through the styrofoam. These holes can be offset some (or not). Place one inch-wide strip of nylon-reinforced tape on the edge of each top & bottom flap (8 strips in all). Seal the top & bottom flaps' center with Scotch Heavy Duty Shipping Tape. Be careful NOT to tape over the box ventilation hole(s)!

Loosely wrap UniHeat heat pack with 1 layer of paper towels -- like an "envelope".

With the heat pack’s ventilation holes facing towards the gecko(s), place the heat pack against the far long wall of the box or in between the gecko deli cup(s). Do NOT cover any of the styrofoam box's ventilation hole(s).

Box Enclosures:
Include care sheet(s), extra shipping label, extra box label identifying contents & number of lizards, & complete emergency details on reaching sender, recipient, & shipping company's contact person

Box Labels:
Include common name(s), scientific name(s), numbers, & sizes (weights and/or lengths)

Actual Shipping:
Use a company that specializes in shipping reptiles. That reduces shipping costs & provides tender loving care & safety from your home to a gecko's next home.

Reptiles2You is awesome. Debbie Price offers top notch customer service!

In the USA Ship Your Reptiles & Reptiles Express are other shipping options.

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Cryopak's Phase 22 recs

Cryopak's Phase 22 low temperature packs aren't supposed to raise the temperature above 72*F.

Click: Cold Chain Packaging, Data Loggers & Monitoring and Package Testing
  • Cryopak Phase 22 packs are great for applications that need to maintain a controlled room temperature
  • Phase change temperature is 22°C /71.6°F
  • Provides thermal protection when shipping products at various temperatures
  • When used as liquid, acts as gentle heat source (keeping the contents warm)
  • When used as solid, acts as a heat sink (protecting the contents from heat)

Click: Ship Your Reptiles with Cool Packs from

"These packs are not only high quality but also HIGH TECH! They are designed to undergo "phase change" (to freeze or melt) at 22°C / 71.6°F. If you think the temp inside your box might rise ABOVE this, use a frozen Phase 22 pack. It will absorb the heat energy in your box as the pack changes from solid to liquid, thereby keeping the contents of the box cooler.​
"If you are concerned that the temp inside your box might dip slightly BELOW 22°C / 71.6°F, use an un-frozen pack. It will release it's heat energy inside your box as the pack tries to "phase change" from liquid to solid, thereby keeping the contents of the box slightly warmer.​
"HOWEVER - note that the warming properties of this process are NOT as powerful as true Shipping Warmers (Heat Packs).​
"If you expect your shipment to encounter temps below 60°F we recommend using a true Heat Pack shipping warmer."​

For link 100 click: Shipping Tips for Geckos . . . . . . Elizabeth Freer -- January 2023 (update)
For link 145 click: Shipping Guidelines for Geckos . . . . . . Elizabeth Freer -- January 2023 (update)
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