Bringing an African Rodent into the United States

Importation Regulations

A Gambian pouch rat curled up and asleep in a cage.

Photo caption: A restricted rodent: A Gambian pouched rat, Cricetomys gambianus.

What may NOT be imported into the United States?

A person may not import or offer to import into the United States:

  • Any rodent of African origin, whether dead or alive, including:
    • Any rodent shipped directly to the United States from Africa.
    • Any rodent that was shipped to another country before being imported to the United States.
  • Any rodent, whether dead or alive, whose native habitat is in Africa, even if the rodent was born elsewhere.
  • Bushmeat.
  • Other products derived from African rodents that do not meet the requirements specified below.

What MAY be imported into the United States?

A person may import into the United States with written permission from CDC:

  • African rodents intended for scientific, exhibition, or educational purposes.

A person may import into the United States without written permission from CDC:

  • Fully taxidermied African rodents and completely finished trophies.
  • Products derived from African rodents, such as brushes that use animal hair and animal skins, if properly processed to render them non-infectious. For details on rendering animal products non-infectious, please see Bringing Animal Products into the United States.

Products imported under these exceptions are subject to inspection to ensure they meet the conditions set forth in the final rule.

What actions can CDC take to prevent the importation of monkeypox virus?

Under this rule, CDC has authorization to:

  • Require an imported animal to be placed in quarantine or isolation.
  • Require an imported animal to be re-exported.
  • Require an imported animal or animal product to be destroyed.
  • Take other public health action necessary to prevent the spread of monkeypox virus.

If you have questions about importing African rodents for scientific, exhibition, or educational purposes, contact CDCanimalimports@cdc.gov.