Axolotls are shipped in a polyethylene plastic bag filled with water and placed in an insulated box and as soon as you receive your axolotl, it should be quickly transferred to its tank following the right procedure.
how to make sure your axolotl is shipped safely?
When you buy an axolotl on the internet, you must choose the seller carefully, and he must be a professional and passionate breeder .
You must also be very careful with the shipping so that your axolotl arrives at your home as soon as possible, in less than 24 hours if possible.
For shipping, you should ask that your axolotl be shipped in a bag of at least 4 mm thick and put in a Styrofoam insulated box, but above all, using the premium Priority Mail Express so that it is delivered to you as quickly as possible, even during the weekend and holidays.
How to properly and safely ship an axolotl?
Here are the steps to follow to safely ship an axolotl and ensure that it will arrive in good shape and without being stressed or injured:
Some checks before even preparing the package
- Make sure the customer’s address and phone number are correct
- Make sure your customer lives in a state where it is legal to have an axolotl as a pet since they are illegal in (California, Maine, New Jersey, Hawaii & Virginia)
- Check what the weather will be like during the shipping time of the axolotl to prepare the shipping box for the weather.
- Make sure your local post office or carrier can ship live animals and ask them when is the best time to bring your axolotl to them so that the package can be shipped directly to you without spending too much time at their location and to prevent shipping delays.
- Ask if they have a Live-Arrival Guarantee!
- Also ask them about their requirements for packing and shipping live animals to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
How to prepare your axolotl for shipment?
Step 1: Check the health of the axolotl you are going to ship and make sure it has no injuries, infections or parasites and make sure it does not show any signs of illness or weakness or stress.
Step 2: Fast the axolotl you are going to ship at least one or two days before the day of shipping to prevent excessive waste buildup in the package during the shipping process and avoid ammonia spikes in the water during transport.
Step 3: Prepare the shipping bag, the shipping box (use high-grade cardboard boxes) and line it with a thick Styrofoam or Thermal Aluminum Foil and then write “LIVE FICHE” and “FRAGILE” or “perishable and handle with care” on the box and an arrow pointing to the top of the box”; use a clearly visible marker”
Step 4 : If you notice that it is hot, add a bag of ice cubes in the shipping box without this bag being in direct contact with the bag that contains the axolotl. If you ship your axolotl during the winter or when it is cold, do not use a heat pack, your axolotl will not need it, they support well the cold water
Step 5 : It is now time to fill two thirds(⅔) of your shipping bag with the water from the tank of your axolotl , put your axolotl in the bag , make sure that one third of the bag contains only air .It is also recommended to double or triple-bag every axolotl .
Never blow into the shipping bag, just make sure to trap the air inside the bag before closing it.
If you have an oxygen tank you can use it to add pure oxygen to the bag before closing it completely.
Step 6: You can now add some Seachem Prime Fresh water Conditioner to the water in the bag to help detoxify the water during the shipping time which can take up to 2 or 3 days. You can also add some pure oxygen to increase the level of dissolved oxygen in the water if you feel that the axolotl may be slow to reach its destination.
Step 7 : You will now double the shipping bag to avoid any problem during the expedition, close the bag well, apply a little pressure on the bag to make sure that the water does not come out and finally put the bag on the bottom of the shipping box that you have lined with Styrofoam to help isolate the bag and stabilize the temperature of the water which must remain cool during the expedition.
Step 8: You will then add a frozen cold-pack if you are shipping in hot weather, then fill all the empty space in the box with packing material such as crumpled paper or Packing Peanuts (don’t use anything that will puncture the shipping bag!) Cover it all with another sheet of Styrofoam or Aluminum Foil.
Step 9 : You will close the shipping box with tape without shaking it in all directions and finally go to ship it.
Step 10: Contact your customer and inform him that you have just shipped his axolotl by giving him indications on when he will probably receive his package so that he can wait for it and get it as soon as it arrives.
What is the best courier service to ship an axolotl?
In the USA, the best service to ship an axolotl all year round is the US Priority Express Mail, this will cost you between $50 and $100 (which you will add to your customer’s bill) it is true that it is a little more expensive than when you use US Priority Mail (to be used only if necessary and when the weather is good (during spring and fall) but you will be sure that your axolotl will arrive in less than 48 hours and in excellent condition.
As for FEDEX or Pack-n-Ship shops or others, you will have to expect a lot of regulations and conditions and especially a price that will surely not suit your customer.
Shipping axolotls larvae and eggs
Axolotl larvae and axolotls eggs are too fragile and axolotls’ eggs should only be shipped when you see that their hind legs are fully grown.
The best way to ship axolotls larvae is to use Breather Bags , fill the bag with tank water ⅔ of water and ⅓ of air , if you are using a plastic bottle , do not leave any air in the bottle , close the bag or bottle well , reinforce them with duct tape before packing and inserting them into the shipping box .
The best way to ship axolotls’ eggs is to cut a piece of plant containing the eggs and put it in a clean bottle filled completely with tank water. Close the bottle tightly and then pack it well in a shipping box.
You can also detach the eggs from the plant leaves and other decorations and ship them in the bottle too.
What are the risks when an axolotl is shipped in a box?
Axolotls shipped in a box are subject to many risks that are related to :
The water in which the axolotl is shipped must remain cool because the axolotl does not like hot water at all! That’s why it is necessary to require a bag of 4 mm thick to isolate the water and the axolotl from the ambient temperature, especially in hot weather.
You can also ask the vendor to double the shipping bags and put one bag inside the other to better insulate the water and your axolotl during shipping.
Tubing the axolotl before shipping would be a good solution to lower its metabolism, but it will be necessary to install a bag filled with ice cubes in the shipping box but without this bag being in direct contact with the bag that contains the axolotl.
It will also be necessary to require if you buy several axolotls, that they are delivered each one in its own box and not together in the same bag and in the same box.
The dissolved oxygen in the water is strictly related to the volume of water used in the shipment and in this case, the greater the volume of water in which the axolotl is placed, the more dissolved oxygen there will be to keep the axolotl alive during transport.
In this case, it is recommended to use pure Oxygen to better oxygenate the water and ensure that the metabolism of the axolotl is reduced by ensuring that the temperature of the box remains cool.
Carbon dioxide produced by the axolotl can also be a danger for the axolotl if the delivery time is not respected. The carbon dioxide will actually acidify the water and can harm the skin and gills of your axolotl.
Finally, your axolotl must be delivered before nitrogen and ammonia levels rise in the bag. These are caused by the waste your axolotl will produce during its journey and the sooner it arrives at your home, the better to avoid ammonia burns and other stress related illnesses.
What to do when you receive your axolotl?
First, your tank must be ready to receive your axolotl and the water in the tank must be cycled.
You will of course be available and at home when your axolotl is delivered.
You will take the box carefully without turning it over of course and remove the bag that contains the axolotl.
You will then follow the method I explained in this article to safely transfer your new axolotl into its tank.
Shipped axolotls usually arrive healthy and will quickly recover from the stress caused by the delivery and especially by the small volume of water they put these poor axolotls in before shipping them.
But, when you sell or buy an axolotl on the internet, it would be better if the trip won’t take you a lot of time, to deliver the axolotl or to go bring it back yourself ( if you’re the buyer ) to avoid any risk during the delivery. You can simply buy a Live Fish Box Water Container for Traveling and pick up your axolotl and bring it home without risking making them sick or even stressing them by having someone else delivering them.