Getting something in the mail is one of life’s simple pleasures. Maybe it’s that check you’ve been waiting for. Or perhaps a package with some new beauty products to try. Or maybe … live bees.
Yes, live bees can be mailed through the United States Postal Service (USPS), along with lots of other live animals. Here are some of the other surprising critters you can ship:
- Day-old chickens (and other poultry like turkeys, duck and geese)
- Live honeybees and queen bees
- Live scorpions
- Live adult birds
- Small cold-blooded animals, including:
- Baby alligators
- Tadpoles and toads
- Tropical fish
- Nonpoisonous insects
Wow. Who knew that the U.S. post office was such a hub for critter mailings? Of course, many rules and restrictions do apply, so if you have any leeches or poultry you want to mail to your buddy, better make sure you talk to your local post office or review the rules about “Mailable Live Animals” on the USPS website.
Of course, there are a great deal of animals that are not permitted to be mailed. In 2017, the Australian Border Force intercepted a package containing a number of venomous snakes, scorpions and spiders, including giant tarantulas, scorpions, ball pythons and vipers. The discovery was made after the package (which was labeled as “2 pair shoes”) went through an X-ray machine.
This was not only illegal, but was an inhumane way to ship animals. Many of these poor creatures died in the mailing box, and those that did not were sadly put down by border officials for biosecurity reasons. There was no way to know what possible diseases or bacteria these foreign creatures were carrying, and so officials did not want to welcome these critters onto Australian land.
While rules differ across the globe, it is legal to send reptiles in the mail in the United States, provided that they are not venomous. However, large reptiles like pythons (such as the type of snakes found by Australian border officials) are too big to ship via traditional methods.
Furthermore, if you are going to ship reptiles or insects by mail, you must label the box appropriately and reveal the contents of the box, including the species. In other words, don’t label it ‘shoes’ like the criminal in the above story.
Perhaps most importantly, if you are going to be mailing someone a box of spiders, snakes and scorpions … maybe make sure and warn the recipient ahead of time.