Are Hedgehogs Legal?

Hedgehogs do make great companions and wonderful pets. If you do not have time for a cat or dog, hedgehogs will be the perfect fit for you. These spined animals are solitary and love being alone. However, hedgehogs are exotic so are hedgehogs legal to keep as pets?

Hedgehogs are legal in some countries, while in others, they are not. In fact, in the US, hedgehogs are legal in some states but not in others. 

Whether a hedgehog is legal or not depends on the laws of the country. As hedgehogs are exotic, some countries and states of the US may consider them a danger to society.

Before you decide to purchase a hedgehog, it is best to research the laws regarding them; otherwise, you may face problems later.

Can You Own a Hedgehog in the US?

When it comes to the United States, owning a hedgehog is different for all states. Fortunately, you can own a hedgehog in almost all the states, such as Nevada and Texas, except some. The states which do not allow keeping hedgehogs as pets are:

California – It is illegal to keep a pet hedgehog in California. Hedgehogs are not naturally born in California. And hence, if they are released in the wild, they can be harmful. You cannot keep any species of hedgehogs as pets.

Georgia – Exotic animals are not allowed to be kept as pets in Georgia. Since hedgehogs are exotic animals, they are illegal. There have been recent efforts being made to change this law.

Hawaii – Hawaii does not allow any species of hedgehogs to be kept as pets.

Boroughs of New York City – Hedgehogs make illegal pets in the five boroughs of New York City.

Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania has strict laws regarding keeping hedgehogs which discourages people from trying to do so. If the hedgehog has been in the state since 1992, then only you can keep it. Apart from this, hedgehog imports are illegal. If you house an imported hedgehog, that is also illegal.

Arizona – Arizona requires a permit for anyone who wishes to keep hedgehogs as pets. However, it can be difficult to obtain a permit.

Idaho – Only African Pygmies are legal to be kept as pets in Idaho.

Oregon – Only African Pygmies are legal to be kept as pets in Oregon.

Wisconsin – You need a permit to own a pet hedgehog in Wisconsin.

Maine – You need a permit to own a pet hedgehog in Maine.

New Jersey – You need a permit to own a pet hedgehog in New Jersey.

Wyoming – A permit is required to house a hedgehog in Wyoming.

Can You Own a Hedgehog in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, all the wildlife is protected under the Animal Welfare Act. If you are looking to keep a hedgehog as a pet, you will be pleased to know that African Pygmies can be kept as pets.

Can You Own a Hedgehog in Australia?

Hedgehogs are considered exotic animals in Australia. The country itself has been known to protect wildlife, and therefore, it should come as no surprise that hedgehogs are illegal in Australia.

Why Are Hedgehogs Illegal in Some Places?

Hedgehogs are classified as being exotic pets. These small mammals do not occur naturally in some places and hence are illegal. If hedgehogs are released into the wild, they may cause incidents and prove to be a danger to society.

More often, hedgehogs are classified wrongly as they can get confused with other harmful animals such as porcupines. However, misclassifying is not a reason for you to keep a hedgehog as a pet. You should comply with the laws of your state.

What Happens If You Own a Hedgehog Illegally?

All the countries and their states have different rules regarding hedgehogs. In some places, hedgehogs are pests that can cause harm and are hence, illegal to own. If you do not comply with the laws, there can be consequences that you will have to face.

Owning a hedgehog illegally will harm the little mammal more. According to the species of hedgehog you own, it can be taken away from you if discovered. The relevant authorities can choose to euthanize it, release the hedgehog in the wild or give it to a research lab.

Moreover, there is also a chance that you will be fined for keeping the hedgehog. The cost of the fine varies according to the place you reside in. For example, in California, you will have to bear costs of up to 10000 dollars.

Apart from the fine, you may also have to pay the cost of removing the hedgehog from the premises and its rehabilitation expenses. If your state laws are not as strict, you may not have to serve jail time.

However, if the place you live in has strict laws regarding wildlife, you may serve jail time or pay another fine.

It is not recommended to keep hedgehogs illegally as it is not safe for them. Moreover, if you keep one, you will not find an experienced vet in the place, ultimately putting its life in danger. Even if you do manage to find an appropriate vet, they may have a duty to report the hedgehog to the authorities.


Hedgehogs are exotic pets that are often confused with porcupines. Hence, there is always a question regarding whether they are legal or not. Hedgehogs are legal in most countries and states. Most states of the United States allow hedgehogs to be kept as pets.

However, some states like California, Hawaii, and Georgia do not allow any species of hedgehogs to be kept as pets. In The United Kingdom, you can house African pygmies. Australia is known to protect wildlife, and that is why hedgehogs are illegal in the country.

Hedgehogs are thought to be pests in places where they do not naturally occur. If you try housing a hedgehog illegally, you may have to pay heavy fines if you get discovered. Apart from fines, you may also serve jail time.

The rules change according to the place you live in.

Keeping hedgehogs illegally affects their lives, too, as they may be euthanized or sent to research labs.

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Hey, I'm Brian and I love hedgehogs. They're curious little animals that fascinate me. Over the years, I've become extremely knowledgeable about hedgehogs so have decided to share that knowledge here

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