Rats can only be shipped via airline, that is the only legal and safe way. I ship using Continental Cargo/ United Cargo (they are in the process of merging), only under safe weather conditions, using an airline approved Taconic crate, which has a breathable anti-pathogen barrier. It is the crate labs use to ship rodents. The rats can be separated by male and female, and are given produce and lots of light weight bedding to ensure they stay hydrated and comfortable.
Who will you ship to?
I ONLY ship to other breeders who are either established and have a good reputation, or to new breeders with whom I have spent extensive time speaking with, and have done a lot of research and learning to prepare themselves. I do not ship to pet owners because there ARE risks to shipping, and I would hate for someone's anxiously awaited (and expensive) rats to arrive injured or deceased. No matter how careful I am in shipping my rats, there is a risk and that must be understood by the person I am shipping to. I am not willing to take that risk with someone's pets. If during a shipment, a rat is injured or deceased on arrival, I will cease to ship rats in the future.
How much does shipping cost?
Shipping rats is not cheap. Continental Cargo is around $180 to ship for 9lbs or under, but since Continental and United are merging, I expect their prices are going up eventually. They have pulled their shipping rates page from the website, and are "restructuring it", which I can only assume means a fee increase. It also may mean that each animal is required to have a health certificate to ship, which must be obtained from a vet. As of 3/30/12, the rate is still $180, and no health certificated are required.
Just a note about health certificates, if something does happen with the shipment in which the rats are injured or perish, a health certificate is REQUIRED to receive a refund. I will not refund any money for a shipment, if I do not receive a refund from United Airlines myself.
In addition to the fees charged by the airline, there are a few other fees as well:
Deposit: I require a $100 deposit to begin holding rats for a shipment. This deposit will be applied to the airline shipping fee. It is only refundable if I cannot follow through or have to cancel the shipment for some reason. If a breeder backs out of the shipment, the deposit will not be refunded.
Taconic Crate: The receiving breeder will either need to ship a Taconic crate to me to ship their rats in OR pay a $35 refundable deposit via Paypal to use my own crate. I will refund the $35 deposit via Paypal once I receive the crate back. If you are using my crate, the deposit must be paid at the time the balance for the remainder of the shipment is due.
Rats: Adoption fees for rats are 50% normal adoption prices, ($15 for standard, $17.50 for dwarf). Breeders must adopt a minimum of 4 rats, and a maximum of 8 rats. The crate must be under 9 lbs for the lower rate, and about 8 rats is the maximum I will put in a crate. Adoption fees must be paid at the time of reserving the rat, via Paypal.
Gas/parking fee: I charge $20 to drive to the airport and pay for parking. It is 1.5 hours from my home to the airport, which is a lot of time and gas, and the airport charges for parking.
The remaining balance of the airline shipment fee, and all other fees must be paid one week before the shipment is scheduled to go out. If it is not received, the shipment will be canceled with NO REFUNDS to the breeder.
How long does it take to prepare a shipment?
It can take 6 months to a year to prepare for a shipment, depending on the time of year we begin. I only ship during spring and fall, during mild weather conditions. I only have a few litters at a time, so it may take a while for the right rats to come along for the adopter. I do my best to keep the adopter informed about what litters are due, and what I expect.
I do not ship on Fridays or weekends.
How do I reserve my rats for the shipment, and how long will you hold them?
I will hold rats that have been reserved and paid for up to 6 months, at which point I will arrange a shipping date with the adopter. I will contact the adopter to ask if they would like to reserve any rats from a litter, once I have chosen my pick of the litter. I will let you know which rats I consider breeding quality, and those are the individuals available. I will not adopt out rats to a breeder that I consider pet quality. Shipping pet quality rats just doesn't do the adopter or myself any good when it comes to breeding rats and having a good reputation.