Why Are Hedgehogs Illegal?

hedgehogs-illegal Credit: Tiffany Bailey/CC-BY-2.0

Hedgehog ownership is illegal in certain places throughout the U.S. due to views held by each state's animal regulatory body. According to Hedgehog Central, as of 2014, hedgehogs are illegal in Pennsylvania, California and Hawaii. Restrictions have been set into place in Georgia, so that licensed breeders are permitted to run their businesses within the state, but all of their hedgehogs must be shipped out of state.

Some states, such as Maine, are more lenient toward owners of "wild" or exotic pets. In Maine, owners are required to get a permit to own a hedgehog. On the other hand, in Arizona, only certain species of hedgehog are deemed appropriate.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is especially forceful and demanding, even going so far as to monitor state borders to ensure that no hedgehogs are being brought into the state. This law was originally established in the 1990s as a result of several hedgehog breeders attempting to run businesses illegally in Pennsylvania. Breeders that violate the law are subject to have had their home businesses raided, as it is considered a major crime.

California, similarly, has a law in place that ensures that all wild animals are illegal by default. The entire state deems hedgehog ownership illegal, as they are not currently listed as domestic pets.