Are Hedgehogs Legal in California?

Before owning any exotic pets, it is important to know if they are legal in your vicinity. Hedgehogs are one such pet that is considered exotic.

There are many laws regarding hedgehogs, with each state having its own. If you reside in any of the states, it is best to consult your vet or check the laws to ensure you are not breaking any before bringing in a hedgehog. But are hedgehogs legal in California?

Unfortunately, you cannot keep hedgehogs as pets in California. Keeping a hedgehog at home in California is illegal.

California has strict laws when it comes to keeping wildlife as pets. Keeping hedgehogs as pets in California has been made illegal as they are considered wild animals. You cannot get a permit to house any wild animal.

Can You Own a Hedgehog in California?

If you are deciding on housing a hedgehog, ensure that you comply with the laws of your state. If you reside in California, unfortunately, you cannot own a hedgehog. Apart from ownership, you also cannot import a hedgehog and then house it.

The reason why California is so strict concerning wildlife is that it keeps in mind the security of the public. Non-native animals are not allowed to be kept as pets. The restriction is on many kinds of wild and domestic pets alike, including hedgehogs.

While some states allow certain species of hedgehogs to be housed, such as the African pygmy, California has banned all 17 species of hedgehogs. 

African Pygmy California

Since these tiny mammals do not naturally occur in California, they become pests and can be harmful to society if released in the wild. Moreover, there is also the risk of the spread of diseases and predators.

If it were made possible for hedgehogs to be housed, there would be requests for other non-native wildlife too. Allowing for non-native wildlife to be kept as pets would put California’s wildlife at risk.

What Happens If You Own a Hedgehog in California?

Hedgehogs are one of the animals that are illegal to be kept as pets in the state of California.

If you own a hedgehog in California, the authorities will take your pet away. Depending on the species of your hedgehog, they can either release it into the wild, send it to a research lab, or even euthanize it. Owning a hedgehog when it is not allowed poses a threat to its life.

Apart from your hedgehog being taken away from you, you will also have to bear certain costs:

You will be fined around between $500 and $1,000, and this does not include the cost of removing and rehabilitating the hedgehog. You will have to pay a separate amount for the care and storage of your hedgehog.

You will also be prosecuted for misdemeanour and serve up to six months of jail time. Either you will serve your time in jail or pay another fine of 1000 dollars. Luckily, there are rare instances when people are prosecuted for possession of illegal animals.

Hence, it is important to ensure to follow the law; otherwise, you will have to give hefty fines, but mainly, you will be putting the life of an innocent animal at risk.

Hedgehog Fine California

Can You Take a Hedgehog to the Vet in California?

Keeping any pet requires frequent visits to the vet. Whether it is your care regarding your pet or it gets sick, you will find yourself rushing to the vet a lot. Hedgehogs also require care and supervision by a vet.

You should at least visit your vet once a year to ensure that your hedgehog is in great shape.

However, keeping a hedgehog in California is tricky as it is. You will be breaking the law by housing an exotic animal. Moreover, there is always a risk of being reported.

If you take your hedgehog to the vet, the chances are that the vet will be required to report you. Moreover, even if the vet does not report, they may not have experience dealing with exotic animals since they are banned in the state. Hedgehogs are unique animals and require special treatment.

If you get reported, your hedgehog will be taken away from you and possibly shifted to some care facility or, worst-case scenario… Get euthanized.

You are putting the life of the hedgehog at risk by even considering keeping it in California. Moreover, with no access to a proper vet, your hedgehog might even lose its life if it gets sick.

Can You Get a Permit to Keep a Hedgehog?

As per the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, hedgehogs are exotic animals harmful to wildlife and society. Therefore, there are no permits allowed to keep hedgehogs as pets or to import them because hedgehogs are not legal in California.

Other states in the United States allow permits for hedgehogs, such as Maine, New Jersey, Wyoming.

However, permits may be granted to some qualified people who know how to deal with exotic animals. The permits are due to reasons such as research, shelter, or exhibitions.


The different states of the United States have their laws and regulations when it comes to wild animals. So, are hedgehogs legal in California? The state of California is extremely strict when it comes to the possession of exotic animals and keeping them as pets.

Hedgehogs are considered wild and exotic animals and are therefore banned in the state of California. The state believes that non-native animals threaten society and wildlife since they do not naturally occur.

There are risks of hedgehogs being released in the wild and spreading diseases. If someone is caught in possession of a hedgehog, they will be heavily fined and have their hedgehog taken away. The hedgehog might be sent to a facility or even get euthanized.

The person in possession can even serve jail time for the misdemeanour.

Even if you manage to house a hedgehog in California, you still cannot take it to the vet for proper medical care. The authorities may require the vet to report you. Also, they may not be trained to offer the special treatment that hedgehogs require putting its life at risk.

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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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