This is our sucess story of traveling from Maine (USA) To Israel:
Hello again everyone, as promised, I would like to share a unique story of traveling aborad with my two sugar gliders Kanga and Roo. Hopefully this story can be a help to other people that need to travel, and refuse to leave their babies behind. I have included prices for items and general cost incurred whenever I thought important, so people get a better idea of actual costs) This story is rather long, but I hope educational.
It all started with a failed attempt to bring my sugar gliders from Miami to Israel. I live in Israel part time, and needed to bring them with me, as I would be gone too long for hiring a pet sitter. As it turned out, I relied on internet contact and the information they gave me which turned out to be mostly false. The contact informed me, (and the lady who sold me my gliders confirmed) all I needed was a travel cage (which she sold me from her pet store $20) and to pay a fee at the airport (I was told $150 by the airline representative). Thus, I was ill equipped the first time (BOO!!!) as was denied at the airport. Luckily we had a VERY dear friend in Miami that was trusted to pick up the gliders at the airport after my boyfriend and I had left for our trip. I didn't get to see my gliders for 2 months while they stayed with my friend in Miami. I was sad every day, because I missed my booby babies! When I returned to Miami alone, I stayed 2 nights with my friend to ensure the gliders would remember me, and make transition less stressful. My friend had done a wonderful job with their care (as he is also a glider owner). My babies jumped right out of the flight cage to me as soon as they saw me, and you guessed it, right into my shirt!!!
The next travel was to Maine where I would visit my family for Christmas for almost a month, before I headed back to Israel. Traveling in state is very similar to international, so I won’t post many additional details on this. My gliders are my life, and as you all can relate I'm sure, no sacrifice is too small! In Maine I had no friends that owned gliders. My family however took to them immediately and tried to abduct my gliders LOL. Even though they probably could have stayed with my family this time, I knew I would be in Israel for a longer period of time, and I would miss them too much. There was no way I was leaving without my babies in a months time. I was so dedicated to this, that I would cancel my trip to Israel if they couldn't come. With this in mind I set out to go ABOVE AND BEYOND what was required to let them travel internationally. I planned my whole trip around the suggies. My boyfriend (co-owner) of the gliders called the appropriate authorities on the Israeli end, and got the required paperwork together over the next 3 weeks. Meanwhile I went to work straight away to secure the paperwork for the states "export". I did a lot of research on pet friendly airlines, and based which airline I would travel with on their pet friendliness, and care. I decided to go with Continental Airlines. They were great in the information they gave me, they even have a phone number dealing directly with pets (1-800-575-3335). The ticket price was not much different from other airlines, and only differed by a couple hundred dollars. You acquire your ticket, and then call to book the gliders separate. You need a confirmation number for you, and one for your pet too. My next step was to make sure my coming of age male suggie Roo was neutered, so he didn't mate with his momma, and I could prove that my male and female suggies would not be producing offspring, and would not be considered and "invasive species" this was my idea, and not required. My family vet
in Maine had never done the surgery on a glider, but offered to try with the help of the exotics vet
(his wife) this was a learning process for us all. It turned out wonderfully. I paid $75, and received a very official looking certificate that had a seal. The doctor was so good, Roo didn't even know anything had happened to him.
The Israeli government required a 10 day health certificate, and a USDA stamped approval ($45 plus $50 to fed ex it to state capitol for USDA stamp, and $35 for USDA stamp). I knew I needed another health certificate from the one I got in Florida (expired), so I set up a date to take them to my vet
10 days exactly before I planned to leave. I was making the arrangements with the airline in the meantime. I had copies of the paperwork from abroad fed exed to me, so I could attach it to their kennel for travel, This paperwork included the all important “Import Permit”. I then set about to make the cage they would travel on the plane in. I was told that if I had only one, I could take it carry on, but since I have two, they needed to be checked in a travel kennel, there was no way I could separate my babies for travel, and I was the only parent to make this trip  so cargo it was.. This was a complicated part, because there really is no approved travel kennel for “sugar gliders” according to the airline, so I would have to fashion my own. I called the airline number and spoke to one man who was very rude, and offered little help. He put me on endless hold so I hung up and called again, and got a great gentleman who was willing to go get the book, and look up different acceptable travel kennels for what we eventually classified as "small squirrel like mammals", and that’s as close as we could get to a proper description in the books. Many could be hand made out of sheet metal or plywood, but I eventually came up with a bit easier method. What was required basically, is this: An airline approved kennel for small pets. Non collapsible hard plastic. Vent holes on 4 sides. Wire mesh covering any openings that little hands could poke out of. Feeder dish accessible from the outside, etc. I improvised this by buying a small “classic grey kennel” at a pet store ($30). I then used a drill to drill holes in the fourth side and 4 more holes in the front area by the door (to close door with tie straps). I replaced the plastic wing nut type screws with metal bolts and nuts. (really do your research online if you can, because many of these little quirky things must be done, and some kennels that claim to be airline approved are NOT!) I then went on a search for some type of wire mesh suitable for covering the holes. I thought of window screening, but it was out of season. So I ended up at the home improvement store. I bought some very small wire mesh used for windows ($7 for way more than I needed). This turned out great. It was easy to cut and work with to cover the holes. I used tie straps to hold it to the door and sides of the cage, and then used a pet safe glue at wal mart ($5) to seal around the edges on the outside, so there would be no way the suggies could get hurt on exposed wire. I tie strapped two extra large zip lock bags to the handle of the kennel. One for the required documents and one for some travel food, just in case. I put their smelly blanket on the floor of the kennel, and hung their favorite pouch (also on this note of comfort, I did acclimate them to the kennel first using tent time 10 days, and then letting them play in it for ½ nights 3 days before). The only thing I really couldn’t figure out, was a feeder dish accessible from the outside, but I figured I had most bases covered, and hung a regular food dish on the mesh of the door inside. I wasn’t going to get denied because of one little hang up! At this point I had put so much research and effort into the travel cage, I was daring someone to challenge it at the airport! Which they did, LOL. Half way through paperwork at the airport, the agent says, “yeah, the mesh isn’t gonna work”. When I asked why, he said “we need to tie strap the door closed”. I was so happy I had thought ahead to drill those holes in the front! He just said “wow, excellent!” ha ha
So that being the hardest part, here is a list of documents I brought (I put LIVE ANIMALS and contact information on the front of the big zip lock): A brief description of Petaurus Breviceps with a picture, copy of my passport and itinerary, Israeli import permit and stamped approval. International health certificate USDA APPROVED! (That part turned out to be imperative, also there was a specific format that was required, different from what my vet
normally used). Airline INTERNATIONAL quickpack, and waybill ($410 and obtained at airport). I also carried copies of all documentation and certificate of neuter with me. I arrived at the airport 3 hours early. The paperwork and kennel labeling took 2 hours. I was told no food or water was to be in the cage at check in, and that the gliders would “possibly” get fed on the way. This is because of several reasons, not least of which is; animals can get sick and throw up food during the flight. But I knew my gliders wouldn’t be up until mid flight, and they would be BORED in that box. I wasn’t going to leave it to chance, so right before I tie strapped the door shut, I snuck half an apple way at the back. Good thing! Because the gliders didn’t get fed or watered on the overnight flight (13 hours), and the apple was devoured upon arrival!
I watched the crate like a hawk, every time it was moved, on and off a plane, or wherever I could see it to make sure. I even checked once seated in the plane, to make sure it had made the connecting flight, and was on board. In the end, even though I was worried sick, everything went fine. My gliders arrived safe and I was so happy! There was no additional paperwork on the other end, and we just picked them up from the baggage check area. The agents did use the Israeli cell phone number I provided to call us and let us know where our pets were in the airport, so I’m glad I included this. I really believe with all the preparation, the travel was easy for them, and a positive experience. They had no visible signs of stress after flight.
I have a few pictures to upload with this message (of the cage, and how to make one) but I don’t have an external site to load from. I use my mobile phone for internet access. So if anyone has the ability to attach the pictures to this post, I can email them to you from my phone, and would be most grateful!
I hope this helps anyone who plans to travel with their gliders. Please ask if you have any questions (or pm me).