Top Five Animal Couriers of the Past

Posted on August 26, 2018

Throughout all of history, people have needed to communicate over long distances. Before there were government regulated postal offices, people had other ways of sending correspondence and packages to people around the world. Today they are called couriers. On a daily basis, anywhere between couriers deliver 15 million to 25 million packages. This number fluctuates depending on the season. Couriers deliver more packages during the holidays than the summer, for instance. It wasn’t always humans doing the delivering, however. Here are the top five animals who have worked as courier services throughout the years.



The first courier service recorded in history occurred around the year 2400 BC in Ancient Egypt. Back then it was of utmost importance for pharaohs to get their correspondence across long distances as quickly as possible. Due to the desert landscape of Egypt, only one animal was qualified to make these deliveries. They used camels, animals that store excess water in their hump so they can go extended periods of time without rehydrating. This is one of the reasons caravans used to travel across the desert.


Before there were automobiles and motor vehicles, there were horses. Horses were used for travel and transport all across Europe, Asia, and the Americas because they were strong. Horses have endurance as well. From the middle ages and earlier, horses were used to carry communications and goods across long distances. One famous example of horses as courier services is the Pony Express. They operated in the United States between the years 1860-1861.


Colder regions with heavy snowfall don’t allow easy travel on horseback. In areas like Alaska, Canada, and Greenland, dog sleds were a common way to deliver messages and goods. In fact, some areas of the world still use this form of courier service. It’s convenient to get where cars and other animals can’t get easily.


Before pigeons were just common birds that beg for breadcrumbs in the park, they had a job to do. Pigeons were a discreet and intelligent bird that could deliver messages across long distances in short time spans because they can fly. With a natural sense of direction, pigeons made great couriers for small correspondence. Especially for covert messages, pigeons were great. However, due to their size and inability to carry large packages, use of pigeons for courier services went out of style.


The most enduring animal to deliver packages and letter would have to be humans. From the Ancient Greeks running letter everywhere, to the ones manning the caravans and Pony Express, humans have always been acting as couriers. Until horses or pigeons learn how to operate delivery trucks and computers, it looks like humans have some job security in this industry.


While there have been instances of other animals delivering packages, such as cows and mules, these five are the most renowned for their work in courier services. For courier services in the Northeast, contact Fleet Couriers at 800-734-9309 or visit them online here.