Rabbit Transport 101

How to Travel Abroad with Rabbits ๐Ÿ‡

Moving to another town or country? Did you know that you can take your pet rabbit with you?

Over the years, the Keringa-Petwings team has transported a number of pet rabbits to towns around South Africa and countries throughout the world. These are two of our recent bunny travellers โ€“ Shadow (left) and Prada (right) – who have settled into their new homes in Germany and Ireland respectively:

Here are some questions and answers to help you with your planning:

Yes, theyโ€™re allowed to travel locally, regionally, and internationally.

Most countries accept rabbit imports, barring New Zealand and Australia at this point in time. Australia only accepts rabbits from New Zealand and vice versa. We check every request for rabbit transport with the representative in our clientsโ€™ destination countries just to make doubly sure.

They stay in the airport warehouse, which is where dogs and cats also stay.

Yes, rabbits (little chewers that they are) must have special travel containers with mesh reinforcing on the inside. Thatโ€™s to prevent them from chewing their way out of their crates.

Rabbits need to be able to sit comfortably, turn around comfortably, and lie down without touching both sides of the crate simultaneously. Their ears may also not touch when sitting in an upright position.

Yes. Water is provided via a bowl affixed to their crate with a funnel. There is also a fixed food bowl for pellets and fresh greens. Hay is loose inside the crate for easy access, to prevent them from getting stasis.

We provide our rabbit travellers with water and food before checking them into the airport. The airline staff will top up their water prior to their flight, and again if they have a transit stay. Pellets and hay are affixed to the top of their travel containers, to be provided to them during transit and for their onward journeys.

Rabbits have a keen sense of smell, so itโ€™s important to include a familiar garment or blanket in their containers, which will help keep them calm. Toys arenโ€™t permitted because they could be choking hazards.

This is dependent on each individual country, but generally, they have to have a โ€œfit to flyโ€, or an official health certificate done within a certain timeframe.

Exports must be microchipped in order for official health certificates to be certified by the government state vet of South Africa.

Some countries require vaccinations for the following upon arrival or during the petโ€™s residency in the destination country:

  • Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus
  • Myxomatosis
  • Tularaemia

NB: Rabbits that are vaccinated for the above are not permitted into (or back into) South Africa, based on current information. The United Kingdom, for example, has a mandatory quarantine period of four (4) months for rabbits, during which time theyโ€™re vaccinated for Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus and Myxomatosis. This means they will never be allowed back into South Africa (unless our government makes amendments to the current import requirements.)

Note also that although Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) can be found within South Africa (a recent development), import requirements have not changed.

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