Hedgehogs are only available from select pet stores and breeders. This is because the U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies hedgehogs as exotic pets and requires breeders and pet stores to acquire permits if they possess more than a certain number.
Prospective hedgehog owners should consider looking for a hedgehog breeder. Though there may not be one nearby, visiting the breeder to ensure his animals are raised in a clean, safe environment can help prevent disease later in the hedgehog's life and potentially avoid expensive vet bills. Prospective owners should ask to hold the hedgehog to make sure it is well-socialized and check its ears and eyes for dirt or discharge. As with any pet, prospective owners must be sure to research the proper diet, care and handling of the animal before making the decision to purchase.