This article is from the WSSF 2013 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Karen Robbins
Mike & Lindsey, e-mail
Q My fiancé and I have recently relocated to the U.S. Virgin Islands for work and had to leave our rat in Vancouver, Canada, with my fiancé’s mom. She is having health problems and we need to have him shipped to us in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands ASAP. Anyway, we really are needing help with information about how to ship our beloved rat safely and affordably. He is our baby and we never wanted to leave him behind. We really love him more then any pet either of us have had.
We need to know about costs from Canada to USVI, about the cage specifications, specific regulations on animal cargo, which airline would ship to here, what paperwork, exactly what I need to do, and anything else important we should know and do. We appreciate anything you can help us with.
A You will need to contact the airlines that fly from Canada to the U.S. Virgin Islands to see which ones can ship animals. Not all can ship animals as cargo as it requires a pressurized cargo hold. There are some airlines here in the States that will allow a pet on board as extra baggage in an approved carrier when you are the passenger (only certain pets allowed though). Most airlines will require a health certificate and you would have to contact your local customs (and any other department there to see what they require in paperwork, permits, etc., e.g. Fish & Wildlife, Dept. of Agriculture, Health Dept., etc.). Just because one may say pet rats don’t need anything special, doesn’t mean they all will. You need to contact each one separately. Also, each one may have a fee, permit, or their own paperwork that must be taken care of sometimes ahead of time. Also, find out if you need an appointment at any of these departments. You will need an appointment with the airlines to do the actual shipping.
I would suggest starting with the airport to see which airlines fly into the U.S. Virgin Islands from Vancouver, Canada, where the rat is located (direct flights are always best so the rat gets there quicker), then find out which ones will ship animals and which types of critters they allow. Next, contact those that do ship to see what the rules are on shipping a domestic pet rat (make sure you stress “domestic pet rat” so they don’t think it is a lab rat or wild rat), what that airline requires as far as shipping container, health certificate, paperwork, permits, fees (the fees vary from airline to airline and with each department/agency you have to deal with), appointment times, what time before the flight to drop off the rat, etc., and then you will need to find out what your end requires to bring in a domestic pet rat from Canada. I know there is no quarantine bringing rats and mice into the U.S. from England, and the one time I shipped rats to Canada, there was no quarantine on their end, but I’ve never brought in rats or mice from Canada to the U.S.
A lot of the initial checking can be done online, but it will get to a point you will have to call the various agencies/airline to make final arrangements and to make sure there will be no issues bringing your pet rat to you.
Some links I found:
Hope this helps and you can get your beloved rat to you soon.
Meghan Wingate, M&B Handy’s Dumbo Rattery, e-mail
Q I only breed Dumbo-eared rats and specialize in a few different patterns. Myrattery is everything I amworking on right now. I love the rats and want to provide people the best Dumbo pet I can. I also wondered about shipping. Is there any information you may have for me about shipping?
A We have our article on shipping that has information along with places that have shipping boxes and watering solutions. Some airlines to check into are: American, Alaska, Delta, Northwest, United, and US Airways. You can also contact other breeders on the Internet that say they ship to find out which airlines they use, shipping boxes, prices they have had to pay, etc. You can also try a pet shipping company such as PetTravel.com. And, Pet Air has information on shipping, along with hotels that allow pets.
For those who think they can ship rats or mice via UPS, you can’t! The only “animals” that can be shipped by them for next-day delivery are: amphibians, crustaceans, fish, insects, mollusks, reptiles, lizards, turtles, and worms—no mammals.
Terren Brandt, Litterattery, e-mail
Q I have a question and am hoping you might be able to point me in the right direction. I am trying to import some rats from England but can’t seem to find an airline. Do you know who I might be able to use? I’m looking at bringing in some of the Martin (red-eyed devils) from Hawthorn Rattery near Glasgow, Scotland. I just haven’t figured out if I just want to fly there and get them or have a company do it for me.
A We used British Airways to bring in the animals for our 2004 shipment. We also used a shipping company (Air Pets) to take care of the paperwork on their end and put them on the plane to come here. There are pros and cons to using a shipping company, so it depends a lot on the experience of the person in the U.K. getting the rats together for you as to whether you want to have a company do the export part. I put together a page with additional info on shipping that should help www.afrma.org/shippingnotes.htm. See also the “Shipping Rodents” article for basic info on shipping.
Zhan Shi, e-mail
Q My little brother is a rat fan. I really want to buy several pet rats for him, but he is not in America. If I want to buy rats from you, can you give me any suggestions? Is that possible to ship them to another country and make sure the rats are alive and healthy?
I found the shipment information from your website, but I still cannot really understand how to operate it in detail?
A See the first answer (previous page) for general information on shipping. I would suggest starting with the airlines that fly to your brother’s country and see which ones ship animals and which types of critters they allow, then contact those that do ship animals to see what they require. Also, direct flights from point A to point B are best, especially if it is a long flight. Next, you will need to find out what each country requires to export pet rats from one and import to the other. And of course there are animal shipping companies you could contact that could take care of most of this for you.
Shipping rats between countries has been done but is very expensive. The times I have brought in animals from England, they arrived fine, but I used an animal shipping company to do the last shipment (they took care of shipping crates, paperwork with the airline on their end, and getting them to the airport, but I had to take care of my end’s paperwork/fees/etc., when they arrived).
Depends on where you live as to who you would buy rats from to send to your brother. We have members all over the U.S. Hope this answers your questions and you are able to get your brother some pet rats!
Manuel Peña, e-mail
Q I am from El Salvador in Central America. I am interested in being the first breeder of rats as pets and not as live food. There are several people who approach me to observe my two rats and to ask me if they are good pets and if I have breeding place. I wonder if you can recommend a breeder that can export because I am interested in purchasing quality specimens and your organization collects the best breeders. I would be infinitely grateful if I could contact someone interested in exporting their specimens. Also, I would like to know what would be the price for bringing them to my country. I tried to communicate with some on the Internet but so far I have not had a favorable response.
A There are a few breeders in the U.S. who do ship—you would have to contact each one to see if they ship outside of the U.S. Just remember, most breeders have a waiting list for their babies. You can start your search from the AFRMA Breeder’s page. You can also do a general search on the Internet, go to the various rat forums, or do a search on Facebook for rat breeders. I have heard of a couple breeders shipping out of the country but don’t know if they are still breeding.
As far as price, you are looking at several hundred dollars for the shipping which would include the rats, shipping containers, health certificates, permits/fees from the various agencies involved, airline shipping cost, possible broker fees, etc., which can be as much as $100+ per animal. You would need to find out any regulations on bringing domestic pet rats into your country before you even begin. There are a few shipping companies that ship animals cross-country that would take care of the shipping containers, paperwork on the one end, pick-up of the animals from the breeder, and get them on the plane. You would need to contact these companies to see if perhaps they could take care of what is required to get you some nice quality pet rats to work with. I found one transport company that you can start with: OATS (O’Brien Animal Transportation & Services). Their web site says they specialize in arranging local, national, and international trips for animals of all sizes and species.
The only other alternative would be to find someone that is coming from the U.S. to El Salvador that could bring you rats if you can’t find a rat breeder that would be able to ship you what you are looking for. Good luck in your endeavor!
Letty Medina-Macedo, SCANTIBODIES Laboratory, Inc., e-mail
Q Which airline do you recommend to ship mice?
A Pet breeders here in the States have used United and Delta. Other airlines such as Alaska, American, Northwest, and US Airways all say they ship pets but you would have to contact them to see about mice.
The laboratories may have their own courier service—you might try contacting them to see who they use, e.g. Jackson Labs Shipping Routes and Destinations.