Are you going on a trip and wondering if you can bring your hedgehog along in the airplane? Flying with hedgehogs is not an everyday thing for sure. But it is possible.
We have just flown our little hedgehog Sniplet out to the United States from Europe. He did well during the 10 hour trip, but the journey was not without hiccups.
In this post, I’ll give you an ultimate guide to flying with a hedgehog – and share our experiences from the trip.
Let’s get to it.
Domestic vs. International Travel
Air travel regulations for hedgehogs differ drastically, depending on whether or not you travel within the United States or come from abroad.
We came from Europe, so the procedure to import the hedgehog was a lot more complicated. My tips for flying remain the same, but you can skip my explanations in point 2.
In most cases, you’ll have to put the animal into the cargo hold. I know, it sounds horrible, but it is not too bad. The cargo hold is temperature controlled and pressurised, just like the main cabin. Animals do not sit with the luggage.
One thing in advance: international air travel with a hedgehog is a huge hassle and comes with a lot of cost. Make sure to be prepared for the task.
1. Step: Find a Trusted Broker (On Both Sides)
Airlines require you to have a broker that handles your pet shipping. You’ll need to hire an agency in the departure country, but also in the country of arrival. If you travel within the United States, you might only need one company that can arrange both ends.
I suggest to interview a couple of pet shipping companies before making a decision. We immediately could tell when someone was not up to the task of shipping exotic animals.
Coming from Europe, I suggest to go with Zoo Logistics. They handled our case with lots of love and care.
Within the US, we worked with AE Pets International. They also did a good job, but sadly were pretty overpriced.
Timeline: 2 Months Before Travel Date
2. Inform About Import Permits
The US Department of Agriculture has a strict set of rules that you need to follow when importing a pet hedgehog into the US.
You can find the current rules here.
On this website, you can find a timetable for all actions. The most important thing is to apply for the import permit and to coordinate with the port veterinarian.
Your animal needs to be treated for parasites and obtain a health certificate before travel.
Here a word of warning from me: it takes forever (more than 2 months currently) to obtain that permit. We did not receive ours until we were already driving to the airport. We had to follow up relentlessly, because this office is practically unreachable. Make sure to follow up at least a week before departure!
3. Find an Airline That Allows Hedgehogs
In the cargo hold, most airlines allow pet hedgehogs to travel. Obviously, the cargo hold is the last resort when looking at options.
Sadly, there are not a lot of airlines that allow pet hedgehogs in the cabin. In Europe, only FinnAir allows them. In the US, there are no airlines that allow hedgehogs in the cabin.
If you are US Military, you can check with Delta. They have exceptions.
4. Hedgehog Travel & Flying Essentials
The most important things you need for travel with a hedgehog are the following:
- Airline approved pet carrier (your broker can help with that)
- Blankets to line the carrier with against cold
- Small Pets shipping warmer (get at least 4)
- Apple Air Tags (to track the animal)
4. Flying Day
You’ll drop off the hedgie at your broker’s office, most likely a couple of hours before the flight. Make sure to set up the travel enclosure with the heat packs, so he doesn’t get cold.
If you travel with your hedgie, you can confirm with the air hostesses on board that the temperature in the cargo hold was good enough. The KLM crew did a great job with that for us.
Your broker will pickup the animal and go with him through customs. You can meet after a couple of hours and take the animal with you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Bring A Hedgehog on a Plane?
Yes, you can bring your hedgehog on a plane. Check with the airlines first, since most of them only allow the animal to travel in the cargo hold. But there are a couple of airlines that might make exceptions to have them in the cabin with you. In Europe, FinnAir allows hedgehogs in the cabin.
Are Hedgehogs Good With Travel?
Yes, hedgehogs are pretty good with travel as long as you keep them warm. Some animals can get motion sick, in that case you should avoid longer journeys. Our hedgie Sniplet is the best traveler, he has done countless road trips and even flown from Europe to the US.
How Much Does it Cost to Fly With a Hedgehog?
Flying with a hedgehog in the United States is pretty cheap, you can probably get it done for about USD 150,00. Importing a hedgehog to the United States from Europe cost us about USD 3,000. Since Snip is a part of our family, it was absolutely worth bringing him.