U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Oct 04, 2022

§ 3.36 - Primary enclosures used to transport live guinea pigs and hamsters.

No person subject to the Animal Welfare regulations shall offer for transportation, or transport, in commerce any live guinea pig or hamster in a primary enclosure that does not conform to the following requirements:

(a) Primary enclosures, such as compartments, transport cages, cartons, or crates, used to transport live guinea pigs or hamsters shall be constructed in such a manner that (1) the structural strength of the enclosure shall be sufficient to contain the live guinea pigs or hamsters and to withstand the normal rigors of transportation; (2) the interior of the enclosure shall be free from any protrusions that could be injurious to the live guinea pigs or hamsters contained therein; (3) the inner surfaces of corrugated fiberboard, cardboard, or plastic containers shall be covered or laminated with wire mesh or screen where necessary to prevent escape of the animals; (4) the openings of such enclosures are easily accessible at all times for emergency removal of the live guinea pigs or hamsters; (5) except as provided in paragraph (i) of this section, there are ventilation openings located on two opposite walls of the primary enclosure and the ventilation openings on each such wall shall be at least 16 percent of the total surface area of each such wall, or there are ventilation openings located on all four walls of the primary enclosure and the ventilation openings on each such wall shall be at least 8 percent of the total surface area of each such wall: Provided, however, That at least one-third of the total minimum area required for ventilation of the primary enclosure shall be located on the lower one-half of the primary enclosure and at least one-third of the total minimum area required for ventilation of the primary enclosure shall be located on the upper one-half of the primary enclosure; (6) except as provided in paragraph (i) of this section, projecting rims or other devices shall be on the exterior of the outside walls with any ventilation openings to prevent obstruction of the ventilation openings and to provide a minimum air circulation space of 1.9 centimeters (.75 inches) between the primary enclosure and any adjacent cargo or conveyance wall; and (7) except as provided in paragraph (i) of this section, adequate handholds or other devices for lifting shall be provided on the exterior of the primary enclosure to enable the primary enclosure to be lifted without tilting and to ensure that the person handling the primary enclosure will not be in contact with the guinea pigs or hamsters.

(b) Live guinea pigs or hamsters transported in the same primary enclosure shall be of the same species and maintained in compatible groups.

(c) Primary enclosures used to transport live guinea pigs or hamsters shall be large enough to ensure that each animal contained therein has sufficient space to turn about freely and to make normal postural adjustments.

(d) Not more than 15 live guinea pigs shall be transported in the same primary enclosure. No more than 50 live hamsters shall be transported in the same primary enclosure.

(e) In addition to the other provisions of this section, the following requirements shall also apply to primary enclosures used to transport live guinea pigs or hamsters:

(1) Guinea pigs. (i) The interior height of primary enclosures used to transport live guinea pigs weighing up to 500 grams shall be at least 15.2 centimeters (6 inches) and the interior height of primary enclosures used to transport live guinea pigs weighing over 500 grams shall be at least 17.8 centimeters (7 inches).

(ii) Each live guinea pig transported in a primary enclosure shall be provided a minimum amount of floor space in accordance with the following table:

Minimum space per live guinea pig

Weight (grams) Square centimeters Square inches
Up to 350193.630
350 to 600290.345
Over 600354.855

(2) Hamsters. (i) The interior height of primary enclosures used to transport live hamsters shall be at least 15.2 centimeters (6 inches) except that in the case of dwarf hamsters such interior height shall be at least 12.7 centimeters (5 inches).

(ii) Each live hamster transported in a primary enclosure shall be provided a minimum amount of floor space in accordance with the following table:

Minimum space per live hamster

Age Dwarf Other
Square centimeters Square inches Square centimeters Square inches
Weaning to 5 wks32.25.045.27
5 to 10 wks48.37.571.011
Over 10 wks58.19.096.815

(f) Primary enclosures used to transport live guinea pigs or hamsters as provided in this section shall have solid bottoms to prevent leakage in shipment and shall be cleaned and sanitized in a manner prescribed in § 3.31 of the standards, if previously used. Such primary enclosures shall contain clean litter of a suitable absorbent material, which is safe and nontoxic to the guinea pigs or hamsters, in sufficient quantity to absorb and cover excreta, unless the guinea pigs or hamsters are on wire or other nonsolid floors.

(g) Primary enclosures used to transport live guinea pigs or hamsters, except where such primary enclosures are permanently affixed in the animal cargo space of the primary conveyance, shall be clearly marked on top and on one or more sides with the words “Live Animals” in letters not less than 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) in height, and with arrows or other markings, to indicate the correct upright position of the container.

(h) Documents accompanying the shipment shall be attached in an easily accessible manner to the outside of a primary enclosure which is part of such shipment.

(i) When a primary enclosure is permanently affixed within the animal cargo space of the primary conveyance so that the front opening is the only source of ventilation for such primary enclosure, the front opening shall open directly to the outside or to an unobstructed aisle or passageway within the primary conveyance. Such front ventilation opening shall be at least 90 percent of the total surface area of the front wall of the primary enclosure and covered with bars, wire mesh or smooth expanded metal.

[42 FR 31563, June 21, 1977, as amended at 43 FR 21163, May 16, 1978; 55 FR 28882, July 16, 1990]