DHL and FedEx. There is always the possibility of a problem when we have to rely on the couriers. For what the couriers are starting to charge with their price hikes this year, we might as well start shipping Delta Dash. $80 and its there the same day you ship, not overnight.
DHL is pretty good. Ive received some larger size tortoises threw DHL via Long island turtle rescue and some small ones threw DHL via Turtletary. Even though DHL is a great shipping company how you pack the animals makes a huge difference
I have had animals come Delta, UPS, DHL, and FedEx.
Delta left a tortoise at one of it's stops. Took over an hour for them to locate him. Nice thing was, they then brought him to my front door, rather than making me drive the 2.5 hrs one way back to the airport.
Where I live, overnight delivery really means 2 day delivery...nothing gets here before 5 p.m.
UPS was great at delivery, never had trouble with them.
The two current companies (DHL and FedEx) both have serious faults. FedEx likes to deliver packages to my neighbors' house, even with our house numbers in large 5" color that stands out on the front of the house. At Thanksgiving time, we had an envelope delivered to us by them. This time they placed the envelope into an old truck we had parked outside. We didn't use the truck til after Christmas and then found the envelope.
DHL leaves the packages at our house, but never knocks/rings the bell. We live on a road with lots of trucks, tractors, ect.., so it is easy to not hear them. Even leaving a big note on the door asking for them to knock, results in no knocking.
I've been shipping with Airborne Express/DHL for 10 years now, it's been that long I have had great service from DHL and when things have gone wrong they've gone out of there way to fix it.
I also have a great driver, for the past 4 years. He's interested in the turtles and tortoises so takes care of my packages, even putting them inside the house if I'm not home.
There are though a few rules to live by with any shipping company. Only ship on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. If you ship later you could run into trouble as they don't ship on the weekend and the box could sit somewhere all weekend. Also know where their hub of operations is. DHL is in Wilmington, Ohio and I always check what the night time temperatures will be. Most tortoises I won't ship until it is at least 50F for an overnight low in Wilmington.
I've had tortoises shipped by everyone, DHL, Fedex and UPS. DHL and UPS are great in my area. Fedex though never delivers a package to me any earlier than 4pm, no matter how it was sent.
So you might want to ask around to find out how the 3 deliver in your area.
Here's a visual guide I did. http://www.turtletimes.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=31780
I've had 4 Sulcata's shipped to me via DHL. They only messed up on one. He took two days to arrive instead of overnight.
I've shipped tortoises via Continental and Delta airlines cargo. I used CAL to ship my 46lb Leopard out of Houston and I'd recommend them 100%. I've used Delta twice. The Orlando agent was a PITA but they got the job done. I set up shipping for a friend out of Minneapolis and they had zero issues with the airlines agent there when dropping off the tort. All torts arrived safety with both airlines and the price was reasonable. Airline approved dog kennels were used as shipping containers for all the tortoises.
If you use an airlines cargo department make sure you personally talk to the local cargo agent and ask what they need to have done as far as with the shipping container. For example in Orlando I had to have a barrier up against the kennels door bars so their folks couldn't stupidly stick their fingers inside and have my vicious Redfoot bite them. No one cared about that with the 50 lb Sulcata and Leopard. You'll get a different story from the cargo folks on the phone on what is needed but its the local folks you need to please.
Danny, thats a great guide on how to safely ship a tortoise. perhaps we could set up a similar thread here where you could repost those photos. It'd be great to have that guide pinned in this forum for everyone to see.
That was a good suggestion about checking the night time temp at the hub. Last summer I sent a tortoise package to my sister in Oregon (I'm in California) and thought the package would just go up the coast to Oregon. WRONG! The shipment had to go from my airport to the hub, which was in a completely different state quite a few states to the east of me, then to Oregon.