Re: NANFA-- Shipping fish

Jeffrey Fullerton (
Fri, 18 Jan 2002 10:21:56 -0500

Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 20:08:56 -0500
From: "Henry Deford" <>
Subject: Re: NANFA-- Shipping fish

> I know this may seem like "smuggling" as one could call it but I wouldn't
> consider it that. I slipped 4 bags of fish into my carry-on back pack while
> flying US Air. I was coming from Miami and landing in Baltimore.

I did that on several occassions with fish while in the USAF. I brought
Mosquitofish and Blackbanded Sunfish back from the west coast in
tupperware containers in my carry-on baggage. One time it arroused
suspcion and I had to declare them but it was no problem.

I also must confess to a few shady things I've done carrying herps.
While in California I had bought a bunch of Missisippi Mud and a
Stinkpot and wanted to bring them home to my turtle pool when on leave
for my mom to look after them. I packed them in a mesh dunk bag stuffed
with sphagnum moss to minimize stress and prevent dehydration. This I
carried on the plane in a conventional pet carrier.

That scheme was almost a flop. They didn't want to let me on with
turtles because of the anti-salmonella hysteria. So I somehow managd to
come back later and told them I had lizards and when they wanted to look
inside the moss I advised against it because "they might escape and we'd
have a helluva time catching them again"! Hard to believe my bluff
worked. Imagine pulling something like that off in today's security
conscious climate!

My favorite manuver for getting reptiles from point A to point B without
having to spend alot on cash on air cargo was dubbed by my friend Mike
Quispe as "Pocket Express". My favored method was to bag small snakes or
lizards inside a nylon stocking or sock and double bag it with another
sock and carry it on in my coat pocket. Again it probably won't work
anymore since they've increased airport security in wake of 9/11/01 but
in my day I managed to carry quite a few herps through the metal
detector arch. No protected or illegal stuff- everything I brought home
from California was east coast stuff like mud turtles and five-lined
skinks that I bought in the petshops. I was so homesick that the native
herps like alligator lizards and pacific gopher and California
kingsnakes just didn't appeal to me at the time. I looked for them and
observed them but never bothered to keep any for very long.

Now I'd give my two front teeth for a Western Skink or an Arboreal

Urine specimen jars always made great vessels for pocketing amphibians
and their larvae.

It was fun while it lasted.
Best bet these days is to openly declare any animals you are trying to
carry or send by air. That way you won't suffer the embarrassment or
outright psychological trauma of being detained or manhandled as a
suspected terrorist. And I've would never have tried to send fish or
animals in my checked baggage becuase of concern for their welfare.
Plants were a different story but today I wouldn't even try it with
them. If I ever make it back to Florida again I'll post what I collect
home. That is probably the safest way and you can mark the package Live
Fish , Animals or Plants - Do Not Irradiate!


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