American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the Winter 2000 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Shipping Rodents

By Nichole Royer

* No rats or mice can be shipped through the mail or UPS.

* Shipping is done via the airlines.

* Most airlines will not allow rats or mice to be brought on the plane

* Rats and mice must travel in cargo.

* Shipping is very expensive, so shipping a couple of pet rats or mice to someone is really out of the question.

* Shipping is very time consuming to coordinate.

I have had several requests from people who live in other parts of the country and other parts of the world that would like to get rats or mice. There probably are others out there wondering about this as well.

Most of us in California are more than happy to bring animals to people when we take car trips. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen very often. We all have the critters at home and, as I’m sure everyone is aware, it can be a nightmare to arrange for their care when you go on vacation. Most of the time we do not drive if we are going to travel, but instead fly. The airlines will not allow rats or mice to be brought on the plane like you would a cat or a small dog. All rats and mice must travel in cargo, and must be packaged and paid for just as they would if you were shipping them.

Shipping Conditions

More and more we are getting questions on shipping. Many of us in California will ship, however, only on certain conditions.

  1. The person we are shipping to must be a member of AFRMA.
  2. The person must get a full box of rats/mice. If they don’t, it’s not worth our time or their money, and the animals just don’t travel well.
  3. The person must send all money before the animals can be shipped.

The Nitty Gritty

A full box consists of something like 8–12 rats and 12–20 mice (depending on size, age, and sex). In many cases, rats and mice can be shipped in the same box (the box is divided). Cost is usually about $10–$20+ per mouse, and $20–$40+ per rat.

The actual shipping box* costs $35, and the vet check that’s required is another $25–$40.

To The Airport

Shipping is done via the airlines. No rats or mice can be shipped through the mail. The animals are delivered to the airport on this end and you pick them up at the airport on your end. Typically, the shipping charge runs about $150–$250 per box in the US. Shipping out of the country often requires additional paperwork (which has to be handled from the purchaser’s end) but doesn’t always cost more.

Most of the time the person who coordinates the shipment will ask for a little additional money to cover their phone calls, driving, and time put into shipping. I would hazard a guess that it takes about 40 hours of work on this end to put a shipment together.

Expensive Proposition

Needless to say, this is quite expensive. Shipping a couple pet rats or mice to someone is really out of the question. Most of the time when we ship, it is not to a single person. Instead, it is to a group of fanciers who have gotten together to get a shipment. When you split the cost between a number of people who each then get a pair (or whatever the arrangement), then the cost is a lot more reasonable.

When we have enough time, most of the California breeders will plan litters around shipments so that the people we are shipping to get what they want. Needless to say, this whole thing can be rather a project to coordinate. *

See Shipping Notes for more info.
See also the article “Shipping To & Fro”

Update 2014:

Two breeders have reported United Airlines now has a PetSafe® Shipping program for around $75–$90 for less than 10 pounds. A breeder in Chicago, IL has a Facebook page with her info on shipping using the United PetSafe® shipping.

*The shipping boxes we use are from: Cold Spring Products, Inc. RR1 Box 467, Cold Spring Road, Stanfordville, NY 12581 (800) 848-8231. We get the full box with dividers and Transit (water) Kits.

An alternate is the Taconic Transit Cage which is a plastic shipping box. You can also buy these boxes used through Brisky Pet Products.

Another alternate is the Sage Animal Shipping Container from Sage Labs (was TRW Animal Shipping Container). These all plastic containers are available in 2 sizes. The large size can be divided into 4 compartments; small one into 2.

Jackson Labs has plastic mouse shipping containers as well as a cardboard one that comes with a gel pack.

Alternatives to water:

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Updated April 10, 2015