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Project by trotter posted 09-11-2012 01:28 AM 3518 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s a recent commission. We have a client who breeds pythons and boa constrictors, and wanted to ship a Burmese Python (python molarus bivittatus) to Mexico. This specimen weighed 68kgs and measured 17 feet long. When you ship a snake like this, you do not make a box 17 feet long and nine inches square. The snake must however be comfortable, be able to move about without being thrown about, and be kept warm. So the final dims were inches LWH 60×30 x 10. Any wooden packing or containers shipped internationally must now be heat treated after manufacture to kill bugs, beetles and fungus—unless the container is entirely made from ‘manufactured’ timber. Hence the whole project was made from ½ inch ply.

The outer framework was two layers of ply screwed together onto the panels and routed after manufacture. The rope handles allowed easy lifting and folded down naturally so that the outer dims were not increased (and thus increasing the freight costs). It had to be lined with 2inch polystyrene for insulation, and a warm temperature was maintained with heat pads laid under a false ply floor (pic 5). Ventilation holes were covered from the inside with mesh to discourage fingers poking in or forked tongue poking out. Several hasps were added to ensure that nobody ‘took a quick peek’ en route. I made a smaller container for a Mexican King Snake (lampropeltis getula nigrata). Both arrived safely in Cancun.

-- I wish I could sell my experience for half the price it has cost me.

9 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30461 posts in 2880 days

#1 posted 09-11-2012 01:52 AM

I HATE snakes! But looks like a great build.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View clieb91's profile


3668 posts in 4477 days

#2 posted 09-11-2012 02:32 AM

A very interesting project. Nicely done and glad to hear they both made it intact and warm. Neat idea to use the hand warmers.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2766 days

#3 posted 09-11-2012 04:02 AM

I hope they did not make you keep the snakes on hand to make sure the fit was good :-)

This is so interesting – what a specialized product! It must have been a real learning experience to go through the process.

I am pleased to know they are transported in a safe and comfortable environment. Looks like they travel in better style than most coach passengers these days!

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View DIYaholic's profile


19878 posts in 3217 days

#4 posted 09-11-2012 04:23 AM

Interesting build and nicely done.

I just hope those snakes are still “corralled” when I next visit my timeshare in Cancuun!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3644 days

#5 posted 09-11-2012 04:30 AM

Interesting story and build.

I agree with Monte. If one of these boxes gets delivered to my door, I will now know not to open it

Definitely not a band saw box….............

-- mike...............

View mloy365's profile


445 posts in 3672 days

#6 posted 09-11-2012 12:25 PM

WOW! That is very interesting. Love your screwdriver!

-- Mike - Northern Upper Michigan

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9355 posts in 2870 days

#7 posted 09-11-2012 12:42 PM

If anybody ever needs to make a cleated plywood crate, let PPP-B-601 and ASTM-D-6251 be your friends.

The later is a 95% copy of the former, which can be downloaded for free at

The purpose of the cleating is to provide solid wood side grain for holding the panels together.

Looks like you did a nice job Trotter.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View padric's profile


34 posts in 2774 days

#8 posted 09-11-2012 08:21 PM

Nice cabinet work! The only addition I would make is an input valve that you could connect to a carbon monoxide source. I hate snakes.

-- [email protected]

View Green_Hornut's profile


165 posts in 3162 days

#9 posted 09-14-2012 10:44 PM

Got to be one of the most unique builds I have seen on this site.

-- Mother Nature always bats last.

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