We just went through a fascinating trip from Prague (CZ) to Mildenhall (UK).
I. Why did we need to travel with her?
This idea of relocating my hedgehog came from my travelling to the UK for a month to visit my fiancee during Christmas, New Year’s and his Birthday. Leaving for the whole month is different from just a short holiday away from hedgie. A lot of friends are leaving Prague, but there was an option of leaving her with a pet sitter. However, I dropped that idea. It’s not the best option to leave such a fragile animal with a pet sitter for quite a long time. So, I had only one option really – to travel with a hedgehog.
II. Creating the perfect route.
What I did at first was contacting all the airlines flying from Prague to Stansted (London). None of them accepted hedgehogs on board, only in a luggage boot. But imagine, a tiny animal which life depends on the temperature can’t travel like that. Even the plane is equipped with a special space for animals, hedgie will be kept outside the plane for a while the plane is being loaded with other animals and luggage. Outside in -2/-5, when hedgies hibernate if the temperature drops under +18.
Planes are not an option. What’s then? I checked trains and busses. One of my friends suggested going to Viena from Prague by bus and then take a night train to Paris. Then bus to any port where I can get a ferry from and straight to the UK (or maybe a Eurotrain which goes straight to London).
Next steps are – find out If there are no restrictions on board of trains and ferries regarding hedgehogs.
I messaged to Eurostar, which goes from Paris to London, their answer was:
Next step was messaging to ferry companies asking the same question. And at the same time I had an idea to check blablacar.com and I found several trips available from Germany, Czech Republic or Poland to the UK. I basically didn’t care about where people were going in the UK, I cared more about where they started from and whether they accepted pets on board.
That’s how I met a great man Krzysztof. A polish guy, who planned to travel from Poland to the UK by car on the same dates I wanted to go as well. After some time chatting, we agreed on a hedgie on board! Yayy!
The route was
-> Prague to Dresden (train)
-> Dresden to Dunkirk (car)
-> Dunkirk to Dover (ferry)
-> Dover to Cambridge (car)
Everything was sorted! Krzysztof was fine with hedgie in the car, there was no problem with her on the train as well and DFDS approved her as well:
Amazing! Isn’t it?! After I figured out the route I started preparing all the documents for the hedgie. I contacted the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) asking about documents and requirements for our relocation.
Their response was:
I could not be happier! No vaccinations, no trackers, no pedigree.
I bought her a vet book. Booked an appointment and our vet filled all info about the health of the pet in both English and Czech languages.
to get this one I found a hedgehog association in Prague and bought this vet book.
2. Found a breeder who sold us our hedgie last year and got a certificate confirming that the pet was born in captivity and wasn’t just found on a street.
3. Wrote a statement confirming that the hedgehog lives in captivity and that I confirm a perfect health condition.
IV. Preparing a hedgehog for a long trip.
Now when we are ready to go, Phillis needed a cage, isolated from a cold weather, lots of food and space for her activities (running wheel). Also, the cage couldn’t be too big and should be solid to protect the pet.
I’ve got a cat carrier.
Already not bad, but needed to be adjusted to keep warmth inside as much as possible while being outside the house. I got puppy pads, fixed them all around the cage (inside of course) and put the fleece above. Now I would do it a bit differently and put even warmer fabric + more isolating material. After 5-7 mins outside the building, temperature inside the carrier dropped dramatically, but hedgie was in a very thick fleece which is excellent for keeping her warm.
This carrier could fit the wheel + hedgie or food and water + hedgie at the same time. Soo I had to check on her all the time.
V. On the move.
Train to Dresden was fine. It was super warm inside, hedgie didn’t need any external heaters.
We were waiting for Krzysztof for some time and to keep Phillis warm I put one hand warmer close to her. These are lifesavers! They are warm for 90 mins and in terms of traveling – very helpful!
Krzysztof kept the temperature around +25 inside the car and hedgie was asleep most of the trip to Dunkirk. It took us around 8.5 hours to get there with 2 short stops and no sleep for Krzysztof!!
We had to leave hedgie inside the car for 2 hours on the ferry. The parking space was cold so I put a second hand warmer inside her cage (I put it inside the glove, so Phillis wouldn’t burn herself).
While we were driving from Dover, Krzysztof decided to drop us off in Newmarket (closer to the destination). I couldn’t be more grateful! Phillis got a new cage in her new home. She’s more or less used to it now and I am happy I don’t have to worry about her while I am here.
This incredible trip is over and I relocated her safe. No issues during the trip, no problems on the border.
We even considered at some point to find a company which will transport Phillis for us, but the cheapest option was 450 EUR. But I am much more happy with the way I arranged it.
If you want to travel with your hedgehog or any other exotic animal and people keep saying – it’s not worth it OR it’s not possible, do your research first. There is for sure a way to get your lovely friends with you.