As much as hedgehogs make great pets, they cannot be kept as pets in some countries. In the United States, most of the states allow you to keep a hedgehog in your home. However, in certain states such as California, hedgehogs make illegal pets.
All hedgehog species are illegal in California because they do not naturally occur there.
Hedgehogs are exotic animals that are illegal in California. As hedgehogs are not native to California, they can become pests and prove harmful if released in the wild. Hence, hedgehogs are deemed dangerous, and you cannot import or keep them as house pets.
What Happens If You Own a Hedgehog in California?
You must comply with the laws of the state you are in. Hedgehogs are illegal in California, and if you still choose to own them, there are certain consequences that you will have to face.
If you keep a hedgehog, the relevant authorities have every right to take your hedgehog away from you. According to your hedgehog’s species, it can either be released in the wild, taken to the research lab, or euthanized. In addition, keeping a hedgehog is dangerous for the little mammal itself.
There are certain monetary consequences that you will have to bear as well. The state can impose a heavy fine on you, around $5,000 to $10,000. Moreover, you will have to pay for the removal of the hedgehog and its rehabilitation.
The costs that come with taking care of your hedgehog and boarding it will also fall on your shoulders.
Although it is unlikely, you can be prosecuted by the state for the misdemeanour. Therefore, it is best to know the risks that come with keeping a hedgehog illegally. Not only will you pay the price but so will the innocent hedgehog.
Will Hedgehogs Ever Be Legal in California?
Hedgehogs and other exotic animals are illegal in California, and unfortunately, they may never become legal again.
However, due to a lack of awareness about hedgehogs among people, these spined animals are compared with porcupines. Hence, the laws are passed keeping in mind that hedgehogs and porcupines belong in the same category of animals.
Altering the law will require a lot of time and effort, and it may be hard to see a day where hedgehogs will be legal in California. Moreover, there is limited funding and staff to work on these matters.
What Exotic Pets Are Legal in California?
Even though hedgehogs are not legal in California, there are many exotic animals that you are allowed to keep as pets.
Some of the animals on the list may even come as a surprise to you when you consider hedgehogs are illegal. Therefore, it is important to research before adopting or buying any exotic animal to ensure that it is legal in the state you live in.
- Zebras: Perhaps the most surprising animal you will see on the list is a zebra. These black and white striped animals can be kept as pets. Zebras belong to the family called Equidae. All members belonging to this family can be kept as pets. Some more animals include donkeys and horses. These animals are mostly kept as livestock.
- American Bison: These animals are found in the wild, but they can also be kept as livestock under California. Usually, Bisons are not as tamed and require a lot of care. However, it is unclear whether you need a license to keep them as livestock. American Bisons, however, do provide benefits in the form of meat and fur.
- Camels: Camels are exotic animals, but they are legal in California. Moreover, other hoofed animals such as water buffalos, llamas, and alpacas are allowed.
- Constrictor Snakes: Large snakes are allowed in California and do not belong with other reptiles on the illegal list. Some of these snakes include pythons and anacondas. You can own these snakes but cannot bring them across state borders.
- Wolf Dogs: If you have dreamed of owning wolves, you had better shift to the state of California. As wolves and dogs do share certain similar characteristics, wolf dogs are allowed. Moreover, wolf dogs are not entirely wolves. Although, in some cases, you cannot rely on wolf dogs to behave entirely like dogs. These animals can also be unpredictable. Therefore, in California, wolfdogs, which are F3 and less, are legal.
- Hybrid Cats: We all know that cats make lovely pets. Hybrid cats are domesticated and are allowed to be kept as pets in California. You can house all the generations of hybrid cats in the state.
- Monitor Lizards: With constrictor snakes being legal, it is no surprise that monitor lizards are too. Both large and small monitor lizards can be kept as pets.
- Ostrich: Ostriches are legal in the state of California. However, mostly these flightless birds are used for their meat and kept as livestock rather than for pleasure as pets.
Although hedgehogs are legal in most United States states, some do not allow hedgehogs to be kept as pets.
One such state is California. Hedgehogs are illegal in California because they are exotic animals that do not naturally occur there. Therefore, there is always a risk of hedgehogs being released in the wild and becoming pests in the area or a danger to society.
If you happen to house a hedgehog illegally, you will have to face the consequences. Authorities will take your hedgehog away from you and send it to a research lab or even euthanize it. Moreover, you will have to bear charges of removing the hedgehog and rehabilitating it. You may also have to pay heavy fines and serve jail time for the misdemeanour.
Hedgehogs may be illegal, but other exotic pets are surprisingly allowed in California. These exotic pets include zebras, monitor lizards, ostriches, hybrid cats, and wolf dogs. It is best to research and see if the pet you plan on getting is even allowed in the state you live in.