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How to Safely Transport Mice

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How to Safely Transport Mice Empty How to Safely Transport Mice

Post by Artistwolf Sun 10 Apr 2016, 9:26 pm

Here's a few traveling tips for those who need some ideas on how to transport mice safely and with as little stress as possible, whether it's a long trip or just a trip to the vet.

Large KK's (Kritter Keeper's) that will comfortably house the amount of mice you want is my chosen ideal form of transport carrier. This is also ideal when bringing a new friend home... it helps them get used to their new surroundings faster. These are also good for bringing mice home in because the cardboard boxes that pet stores send pets home are extremely stressful for them. A truly freaked out mouse can chew through cardboard boxes in no time flat, escape into your car and cause a lot of damage to your sanity, your vehicle, or themselves.  

Be prepared to have to get more than one carrier if you are transporting many mice, or have more than one mouse to take somewhere. Obviously, for every boy mouse you have, he will need his very own travel tank. They in effect become holding tanks, rather than just transport, and can also be used as temporary Quarantine/sick tanks. They need everything in those KK's (but may do with out a wheel, this should be a temporary housing arrangement, not long-term) that they would have in their normal environment.

Food, a water source, and hiding spots, like a toilet paper tube or small cardboard box, along with bedding and things of such nature (including a toy or two) are things to put in the carrier. They need to be kept in a dark, out-of-the-way, quiet place in the vehicle, like on the floorboards, secured in a backseat, or in your lap, until you can get them home to their permanent place, to the vet's office, or where ever it is you are transporting them to. I wouldn't handle them either until you get to your destination, they will be very confused and stressed with travel, and need time to chill. Do not use heavy items in the container though... heavy items may shift during movement and can squish a little mouse, causing injury. Alternative water sources when they cannot have a bottle include slices of apple or cucumber, or a puppy bone soaked in water. When eaten, mice can get adequate moisture from them since all of them retain water well. Sprinkling food or keeping food in a muffin liner (instead of using a dish) is recommended, they will find it they get hungry.

When traveling in a car, or on a bus/train, keep them out of direct sunlight and keep them cool or warm according to the season. I like to put mine on the floorboard of the passenger's hard to tip over, a smooth ride for them, and I can turn the AC on so that it cools that area. Do not place them directly in an AC draft though, and do not use loud music in the car. Should you be traveling the winter time, riding on the floorboards works well with the heat turned on, as does a hot water bottle pressed up against the side of, or under the carrier.

You may need to modify your KK's for the water bottle. Some have a circular plastic clear part in the top of them that is supposed to hold water bottles, but the water bottles I use (test-tube glass water bottles) are too small in circumference, so I modify my lids. I take a sharpie and trace the end of the water bottle onto the hard plastic of the KK. Then I take a old butter knife, heat the tip super hot on the stove (make sure to use an oven glove to hold the knife when you heat it up, the whole knife gets hot and you don't want to get burned) then I take the hot tip and apply it to the circle I out lined on the KK. The hot knife melts rights through the plastic and leaves nice, dull edges. You'll have to do it a couple times... when the knife cools, do it again until the plastic circle you outlined is cut out. Then push the water bottle through the hole you made and wrap a rubber band around the top of the bottle on the outside/top of the KK. The rubber band holds the water bottle in place, and covers up any extra space made by the hole so your mouse can't fit through.

When in motion, flip the water bottle over so that the spout is sticking straight up... this keeps water from shaking out and leaking all over your carrier, preventing the mice for catching a chill from being on wet bedding. When you stop, or get to where you are going and are no longer in motion, you can flip the bottle right-side up with the spout down into the carrier and give them access to water at that time.

So, I thought I'd post steps, just in case. This is one of my Travel-Carrier KK's that I use for vet-trips. It really is very easy, and kinda fun (if you like melting stuff, which I do, LOL).

STEP 1: Use the Sharpie. Here you can see the bottom of my water bottle and the circle I made using the sharpie of its circumference:
How to Safely Transport Mice 2gxinoz
(Keep in mind that if you're using a plastic water bottle, you'll have to turn it up and use the base to trace your circle)

Here you can see the relation to the water bottles I actually use and the plastic hole they want you to pop out and use... it's way too big for me.
How to Safely Transport Mice 255nl1c

STEP 2: Heat up the butter knife... using a butter knife versus a sharp steak knife or something allows better dexterity in maneuvering to melt the plastic. Remember to use a cloth or an oven glove to cover your hand when handling the knife or you will get burned. Use the hot tip and melt out the hole.
How to Safely Transport Mice Oi6em8

STEP 3: Place you water bottle in to make sure it fits, then grab the rubber band and put it around the bottle at your desired height. You can see the water bottle with the rubber band on it.
How to Safely Transport Mice V6hh5v
(For those of you using glass...the sharpie ink wipes right off with a bit of soap and water)

STEP 4: ALL done! Voila! Modified KK! Here is the top, you can see the rubber band holding the water bottle at the height I prefer from the top as well as "plugging" any unsightly gaps between water bottle and melted plastic.
How to Safely Transport Mice 2qxygip

This is a side view of the finished KK.
How to Safely Transport Mice Mh6o75

Hope I helped making your trip home, to the vets, to a new home or location easier for both you and your mice!


EenyMeenieMoe wrote:Do you know whether we can take mice along on a trip to Europe? Are they allowed on a plane from and to the US?
Thank you

Norman's Mom wrote:Yes, you can ship mice to and from Europe...and fly with them in your lap like other animals, but you need to check with the airline regulations and temperature's need to be ideal to take them. If the temperature either will go over 80 degrees F, or under 60 degrees F, they will not ship/transport mice. You will also need full veterinarian's health certifications and be prepared to spend a lot of money....if you have to ship them via cargo, that can cost at least $1,000.00, is not more....if you can take them with you onto the plane, that could be at least another airline ticket purchase. However, that is only for the airline to tell you...all airlines have different regulations.

You will also to purchase special flight-LIVE ANIMAL-carriers for mice, and keep in mind resources for water and food as a trip to Europe is many hours on a plane.

moi_kitty wrote:Many places in Europe will not allow animals in FROM the US without special quarantine procedures.

Mice coming TO the US from Europe are fine, however.

JordanaDG wrote:This is going to be great for when I bring my little boy home! Will be perfect! Question though, to make it a little bit darker in there would it be okay to just tape a little blanket to the outside of the KK? Just so there is not so much light? Or would the darkness *everywhere* -except for the top where the air spaces are, obviously lol- make it more stressful or make it comforting? I just want to make sure he's as comfortable as possible!  

Norman's Mom wrote:Naw, he'll be OK on the short trip home. It's when you get him home that it becomes important to place him in his new home where it is warm, dim, and very quiet. If you want, you can bring a washcloth or towel with you, and simply drape it over the entire container, but that can cut down on air-flow, and you want to be careful to make sure he has adequate ventilation.  

Simply putting a toilet-paper tube, or a piece of small, square cardboard that has been folded in half and set inside "tipi" style, will provide him with a comfy hiding place until you get him home.

Phaedra wrote:I inbreed my mice quite a lot & have not had any issues because of it. My lines are actually quite improved from the original stock.

And this is also a great sticky to read. I do a similar thing for my mice when I travel with them for shows, though I don't supply a water bottle as such, but some carrot & cucumber. I just make some extra stops to offer them water every 2-3 hours (long travel for me to get to a mouse show) from a bowl & make sure they are okay. I find it effective, & it's also helpful that I tend to have another driver with me to swap, so I can check them along the trip frequently.

Windmilla wrote:I don't have an enormous tank like most of you do, so until I have the money to buy a transport-specific carrier, I just take him in his normal cage. I just make sure to take out heavy stuff that could hurt him. He doesn't seem to mind the trip at all, he's very calm.

But he has only been in 20-minute taxi trips, nothing longer than that. I live a thousand miles away from my parents though, and I'll eventually have to go visit them. I could leave him here with someone to feed him every day, (and I have twooo cats there, I'll have to be extra cautious), but I don't think I can spend even a day without him.

I'm so afraid that the airlines here in Brazil might treat him like a lab rat (meaning they'll consider that he might carry diseases and not let me carry him on my lap on the plane, and only let him travel with the luggage instead, nooo), have you guys heard of anything like that? ):

Also, do you need a form or something from a vet before travelling with them in a domestic flight? I know that with cats and dogs you need it, but mice don't need vaccines or anything so I don't see why they'd need it.

Norman's Mom wrote:You will have to check the regulations for the airlines you wish to use. They are likely very different from those in the US.  

In the US - When traveling domestically, OR internationally *with* and owner, you buy the price of a seat ticket, and yes, they need a clearance certificate of health from a vet to fly. The animal can then sit in your lap (in their carrier), or in the seat next to you that you bought for them. Regardless of them needing vaccinations, mice are fragile, and can easily stress and die due to temperature change, environment, noise - whatever - Many people think mice are card-carrying centers of disease and filth - Having a Vet Certificate of Health dispels fears and liability to the airline if something happens to your pet.

Now, if you are shipping mice - that procedure is a bit different. You still need Vet Certifications of Health, you still buy a seat ticket, BUT they are transported in special containers in the cargo. because of that, when shipping mice, they do not allow you ship during certain times of the year when temperatures either drop below 60 degrees, or climb over 80 degrees F.

KiwiKoala wrote:Just for curiosity's sake, is air travel worth the risk of stressing out your mice? Sometimes it's the only option, but would a train or bus be better even though it's a longer trip? In my mind a train would be best because the environment would stay more constant, but I'm not sure if the longer travel time would stress them out more or give them more time to adjust and relax.

Norman's Mom wrote:You want to get mice to their destination *as fast as possible*. Mice do NOT like traveling. They will stress and stay that way until they get where they are going - no matter what you do. You must keep them calm, quiet and safe and cozy. If you can help it, avoid exposure to a lot of things, smells, noise and people/other animals.

FallDeere wrote:What is the max number of (female) mice you would say should travel together? Are issues more likely to arise if there are a higher number? So let's say I have a group of six females living together: would it be best to split them into smaller groups like three and three? In addition, does the amount of time they will spend traveling make a difference to that? Say if the trip was 30-45 minutes versus a road trip?

Norman's Mom wrote:You can have as many females traveling together as you want - as long as the KK isn't so tiny that they are sitting on top of one another. For a KK the size I use in this thread - I wouldn't put more than 3 girls in there. You might have to split them up - traveling makes no difference. 30 minutes, or an hour, or 16 hours....It's a means to an end where they will be put back into a proper tank. They'll be fine crammed up for a little bit. Most of the time they cuddle up and sleep the whole way anyway.

Originally posted by @Norman's Mom on The Fun Mouse forum.

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