Bringing Bats, Snails, and other Vectors of Human Disease into the United States

A Townsend’s big-eared bat

Photo caption: A Townsend’s big-eared bat. Photo courtesy Nevada Bureau of Land Management.

Certain animals, such as bats, insects, and snails, are known to carry zoonotic diseases. Importing such animals for any reason requires permits from CDC and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Because bats can be infected with and transmit rabies, permits are not granted for importing bats as pets. Etiological agents, hosts, or vectors of human disease, including microorganisms, insects, biological materials, tissue, certain live animals (e.g., live snails), and animal products may require a CDC permit for importation or transfer within the United States.

CDC permits for approved scientific, exhibition, or educational purposes are issued by CDC’s Import Permit Program, whose guidelines and forms can be found on their website.