There are several answers to why is owning a hedgehog illegal in California? Though keeping a hedgehog is low maintenance, the animal is still illegal in California.
Pet Hedgehog Facts
A hedgehog is a spiny mammal of the Erinaceinae subfamily. There are more than 15 categories of hedgehog in 5 genera. Hedgehogs are found mostly in Europe, Asia, Africa, and rarely in New Zealand. They got their name in Europe.
Owning a pet entails a lot of commitment and responsibility. Your expenses don’t end in just owning or purchasing. You have to take into account the costs involved.
You must think of food, healthcare, training, housing, grooming among others. While some struggle with just having a dog other don’t mind the costs of keeping a hedgehog.
Hedgehogs are relatively quiet when they live at home with humans. They got their name in Europe because they used to live near hedgerows.
The hog is from their tiny snout that looks evocative of a pig. They usually roll like a ball to defend themselves and the quills extend outward.
Hedgehogs have a brown spine with pale tips and feed on slugs, bugs, and worms. They are neither poisonous nor barbed.
Don’t strain on naming your hedgehog; they are not like cats and dogs. They will always respond to your voice when they get familiar with it.
You can use a name that you are used to or a different one and the hedgehog will just pay attention.
Why Is Owning A Hedgehog Illegal In California?
Owning a hedgehog in California is illegal because hedgehog poses a great danger to native wildlife in case they escape or they get abandoned. The law has been put in place to protect both plants and wildlife.
They also say that in case they escape to the wild and form colonies they will endanger the state’s fragile ecosystem. The state believes that this can lead to an imbalance between species.
A hedgehog can thrive in a new environment and endanger other native species. If you are found or caught owning a hedgehog in California you will be put to jail or get a fine.
The fine is between $500- $10000 plus the cost of animal removal, storage, and care.
It is not only about the hedgehogs but California refuses to allow ferrets, sugar gliders, gerbils, wild squirrels, tortoises, armadillos, gliding lemurs, and monkeys.
Other animals that you can’t be allowed to put as pets are slots, bats, crocodiles, larks, finches, crayfish, raccoons, skunks, chipmunks, monk parakeets, and giant toads.
Can You Get A Permit To Own A Hedgehog In California?
Unfortunately, you cannot get a permit to own a hedgehog in California for fun. They only allow hedgehog permits to institutions or individuals for research or public exhibition. You cannot import or possess any wild animal for pet purposes.
You certainly don’t want legal issues by having hedgehogs or any other animal when they are banned. California may even euthanize a confiscated hedgehog.
Other than a hedgehog, other animals require a permit in California. These animals are deer, bears, upland game birds, waterfowl, Elk, Pronghorn, wild pigs, and small mammals.
There are Exotic pets that are legal to keep and own in California. They are Hybrid cats, Zebras, Monitor lizards, American Bison, and Wolf dogs.
Others keep Large Constrictor Snakes, Toucans, camels, Ostrich, and Tarantulas which are allowed.
I strongly believe that restricting hedgehogs in California is out of fear and ignorance. Hedgehogs are no rodents or pestilence or have any environmental harm and that is why I can support this issue being reviewed.
People in Arizona, Maine, New Jersey, Wyoming, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania are allowed to own one with a permit.
Is It Ethical To Own A Hedgehog?
Exotic animals as a general rule do not make great pets. Hedgehogs are wild animals and do not suit to keep at home.
Their sharp quills make it difficult to handle. Consistent care and proper handling help them relax. They can love their owner when they trust them.
Exotic animals don’t make great pets. A socialized hedgehog will not mind being picked up and when they trust somebody they will lay their quills flat. Hedgehogs don’t play much.
Some are vicious bombs of prickles and with their sharp teeth, they can be eager to tear any available flesh. It’s always advisable to wash your hands after handling a hedgehog which can be hectic while you are living together.
Monkeys, ferrets, snapping turtles are among illegal pets in California. People in California keep them anyway.
You must have a specific reason as to why you must have an exotic animal in California. The reasons must not be leisure or pets.
If you happen to have a permit to own an exotic animal and fail to treat them properly your permit is revoked.
Where Are Hedgehogs Legal?
Many states allow hedgehogs as pets than those that prohibit. Let us be hopeful that one day all states will allow it.
I may not be able to list them all but if you are not in California, Georgia, Hawaii, or the 5 Boroughs of New York then you can have a hedgehog as a pet. Some states will allow you to keep a hedgehog with a permit and others don’t require a permit.
It is legal to own a hedgehog in the following states. It is legal in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, and Delaware. The other States that allow hedgehogs include Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Lowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, and Maryland.
In these states, hedgehogs are legal to keep without a permit but in Florida, you need a permit to sell or exhibit.
Owning a Hedgehog in California
Technically hedgehogs can attack humans. If they are threatened, they roll into a ball and push out spikes for protection. You may get an allergic reaction when pricked with a hedgehog’s spine. They don’t have any scent glands and can smell if not kept clean.
Badgers are predators to hedgehogs. They are becoming a factor in the decline of the hedgehogs. Fresh fruits can be offered to hedgehogs as treats.
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