Packing & Shipping Turtles & Tortoises

GCTTS requires all people shipping turtles to us to use Delta Dash if they are able to ship from their service areas. Turtles must be shipped in a specific container, which must be purchased or provided by the adopter. Delta Pet First information can be found at:

Delta DASH

and also:

Pet Travel Information

PLEASE NOTE: Delta Dash has the habit of telling people that they must be on a "known shipper" list when they inquire about shipping their turtle or tortoise to us. This is not true. Here is what Delta actually says on their web page:

"Note: With the exception of pets that can be visually inspected, shipments by individuals are no longer accepted on Delta passenger aircraft." Cargo Products & Services

What this means is it is OK to ship your animal with Delta if the employees can see it. Don't seal your shipping container until after it has been inspected by the Delta employee. It may be a good idea to take a copy of the "Cargo Products & Services" page with you when you go.

Ship only on flights that are scheduled to arrive in Houston by 6:30pm, otherwise, if the flight is delayed, the turtle will not arrive at Houston's cargo pick-up area before they close.

Those adopting from GCTTS are expected to fully handle shipping arrangements including flight times, containers and pre-paid shipping. Average shipping rates are $90 to $120, container not included, and the adopter must be present to pick up the turtle upon its arrival.

Even though animals are shipped in pressurized, heated/air-conditioned compartments, Delta Dash only ships live animals where points of origination and destination are within safe temperature limits as specified on their web page. This is to insure animals will be safe before loading and after unloading.

Click on the thumbnails below for step-by-step instructions on how to make a secure shipping container for turtles or tortoises:

Do not use a pillowcase as it can restrict breathing if too tight - turtles do not have a diaphram and must use leg movement to breathe. And if the container is turned the turtle will have difficulty righting itself in a pillowcase - a turtle cannot breathe on its back.

You will need two containers - one larger than the other. The smaller one should be small enough to fit into the larger one as shown. The turtle will go in the smaller one. Note that the smaller container must be taller than the turtle is wide so the turtle can right itself if the container is turned over.

First put some newspaper in the bottom of the smaller container. Then loosely add crumpled newspaper on top of the newspaper. You will later put more crumpled newspaper very loosely on top of and around the turtle.

Cut out 2 rectangular areas in lid and duct tape wire mesh or screen on them.

Place label on outside of container and tape shut.

Preparing the outer container:
Cut side air holes in upper edges of one side and duct tape wire mesh or screen on them.
Add styrofoam or other padding for the inside container.

Place the inner container in the outer container, padding where needed so it does not move.

Cut rectangular holes in lid and tape screen or wire mesh to them. You can tape a styrofoam piece to the underside of the lid to secure it in that direction. Add side labels and tape well.