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Hedgehog FAQ [3/7] - Intro to Hedgehogs as pets
Section - <3.2> Where are hedgehogs illegal?

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Top Document: Hedgehog FAQ [3/7] - Intro to Hedgehogs as pets
Previous Document: <3.1> What are hedgehogs? Should I get one? What's good and bad about them as pets?
Next Document: <3.3> Are hedgehogs wild animals?
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Unfortunately, there are some locations that do not yet allow pet hedgehogs.
The IHA [2.5] can possibly help provide guidance on how you can enlighten
any backward bureaucracies you run into.  The list below started as a very
stripped down version of the last list published by the N.A.H.A. to which I
have also included additional notes thanks to people sending me information.

At the moment hedgehogs are not permitted in the U.S. in the states of
Alabama, California, Georgia, Hawaii and Utah, although I've been told that
hedgehogs are quite available in both Alabama (where they are quite available
in pet stores, according to Tim Pearson), and Utah (the official word there
seems to be somewhat uncertain -- possibly the same situation as existed in

To start this off, I have some good news to add for a change.  I have
received word from Julihana, in Alaska, that:

   The Alaska Board of Fish and Game called off the ban on hedgehogs on 
   July 1, 1998.  There is still a little talk over having to have permits,
   but after talking to them today, Game and Fish assured me that they are 
   99% sure that no permit will be required.  
   -- Julihana

This is indeed good news, and even if permits are required, that makes it
much better than before.  Banning hedgehogs in Alaska is one of the few cases
which made no sense, from any environmental perspective, as there is
essentially no chance of feral hedgehogs surviving through the winter.  Kudos
to the Alaska Board of Fish and Game for showing a healthy dose of common

Arizona is somewhat open to doubt as to its status.  It appears that given
the right forms of registration, keeping hedgehogs is possible, though this
level of registration may be very difficult to obtain.  Here are some
`clarifications' on the situation:

   The restrictions in AZ are rather bizarre. A.P. hedgehogs are 
   ``officially'' legal, but F&G doesn't want them there. So, to get 
   around the rules, they say that hedgehogs ``are'' legal if you can 
   first meet certain housing and other requirements.  The requirements 
   that they stipulate are virtually impossible for even large, accredited 
   zoos to meet, so the chances of the average Joe being able to keep 
   hedgehogs as pets in AZ are virtually nil.
   -- Bryan Smith

California is well known for being closed to most `exotic' pets.  This,
unfortunately, appears to be cast in concrete, with essentially no chance for
change.  At present the Ferret people have been working hard to get ferrets
legalized, but even this (ferrets are officially domesticated), is being
blocked at every turn, with laws in the works that are intended to all but
permanently block any future attempts.

The reasons given are `environmental,' with the claimed fear that any such
animals being introduced might escape and survive in feral conditions, and
possibly upset some part of the existing ecosystem.  There are endless
further `political' opinions as to further reasons, but this is not an
appropriate place to delve into such suggestions.

I do know that entering California, you are basically subject to inspection,
and if found to be with hedgehog(s), you will be politely, but firmly turned

A couple of years ago, Georgia clarified their position on hedgehogs, making
them officially illegal.  Thanks to Jerry in Atlanta for this unfortunate bit
of news.

My thanks to Alicia Look for letting me know the official word for Hawaii --
hedgehogs are not allowed.

The N.A.H.A. had Idaho listed as not allowing hedgehogs, but courtesy of some
checking by Wendi Smit, it appears the law is against allowing European
hedgehogs as pets, African Pigmy hedgehogs are allowed, and are available in

Regarding Maine, I've received information from Jazmyn Concolor that 
indicates there is no actual law which prevents sale of hedgehogs in pet 
stores.  Prior to this the information I had (from Jesse and Kris Welsh) 
suggested that it was apparently legal to own them, and to sell them 
privately, but not for pet stores to sell them.  Whether this is because of 
a happy change in the laws, or from the previous situation being either an 
odd interpretation of obscure statutes, or even a case of it being a 
municipal regulation, I'm not sure, at least it seems to be a move in the 
right direction.

Maryland has seen the light (in November of 1994 -- Woobie), and is now legit
for hedgehogs.

New Jersey requires a permit from the State Fish and Game.  The permit is $10
no matter how many you have.  My thanks to Pam Powers for clearing this up.

In early 1997 there was a scare that hedgehogs had been banned in Oregon, but
on further investigation it turned out that the ban only really applied to
European hedgehogs, and that African Pigmy hedgehogs were legit, no permit

Pennsylvania apparently has a law to protect its own animal breeders, making
it illegal to import hedgehogs into PA (which thereby manages to make it
impossible for PA breeders to legally get new stock), although PA-bred
hedgehogs are legal.  Please note that I've recently (Feb/2002) seen some 
indications that hedgehogs in general might be being considered illegal in 
Pennsylvania, and to be very careful of this.  I'm sorry that I haven't had
the time to look into this futher at present.

Wyoming's statutes clearly allow for pet hedgehogs, which is good news: 

  (E) Mammals: [...] hedgehogs (Erinaceus spp.); [...]; certificate of 
  veterinary inspection is not required.
  -- Courtesy of Steph Hyne

Some states also require you to go through their local Fish and Game
department (or the equivalent) to get a permit.  For example Wyoming and New
Jersey require this, as pointed out to me by Marcia Kautz and Pam Powers,

In addition to all the above information, anyone breeding hedgehogs in the
U.S. for sale or trade, must be USDA registered.  This has changed from the
previous exemption for ``Pocket Pets'' which allowed small breeders to go
without registration and inspections.  My thanks to Sharon Massena for
passing along the change.

In Canada most of the information I have been able to find (courtesy of John
Ofner) is that hedgehogs are permitted in all provinces.  Until recently, they
were not permitted in Quebec, but thanks to Michael Simla, for passing along
the following response he received after looking into the matter, it's now 
clear that they allowed:

   ``since November 14th, 2002, it is allowed to keep hedgehogs in captivity 
   in Quebec, except the ones from Europe because of the risk of accidental 
   introduction in Quebec's nature.''

There had been conflicting reports that hedgehogs are illegal in the province
of Alberta, but it appears that this is now something for the history books.
At the very least, there are an abundance of breeders there.

Courtesy of Linda Wheatley, I finally have accurate information on the status
of hedgehogs in the province of Alberta:

   Hedgehogs are legal in Alberta but our Fish and Wildlife people are still
   requiring us to have a temporary shelter permit.  Some Fish & Wildlife
   offices are telling people that it is not necessary to get them and some
   are saying it is necessary.

In short, the letter of the law appears to be that you still need a permit,
but some jurisdictions, are simply acknowledging the reality of hedgehogs
being pets, and waiving the obvious extra workload it would cause them.

Prince Edward Island is that allows Hedgehogs to be bought and sold privatly
but Pet stores are not allowed to sell them.  Thanks to Shirley Ann Blakeney
(and Wesley), for this information on the situation in PEI.

There are also some municipalities which have passed laws banning hedgehogs.
Here is a brief list of the ones that I am aware of:

       	New York City, NY, USA
       	Windsor, ON, Canada

A recent attempt to ban hedgehogs and other exotics, in Toronto, was narrowly
averted.  I'm still not sure who managed to get thing changed, but they have
my personal gratitude!

In the U.K. it appears that African Pigmy hedgehogs are allowed as pets:

   European hedgehogs are partially protected in the U.K.  Trapping them 
   requires permission from the proper authorities.  However, African 
   hedgehogs are commercially available.
   -- Travis Carter

It also appears that they are allowed as pets in the Netherlands, and
possibly throughout other European countries as well.

   Here in the Netherlands (and other European countries as for as I know of)
   you're allowed to keep hedgehogs.  In the Netherlands the only species 
   that is not allowed to be kept, is the European hedgehog (!?).  I know 
   that you are permitted to keep the European kind in Germany.  Therefore 
   it's no coincidence that a lot of books about European hedgehogs are of 
   German origin.  I'm not sure about regulations in other countries 
   according to the E. europaeus. I think that you can keep them there, 
   except for the U.K.

   (I know that they are considered to be a delicacy in Portugal and in some
   East-European countries.)
   -- Anja van der Werf

I should point out here that in spite of Anja's claim about being on the
menu, I've been informed that due to their name in Portuguese this seems
somewhat unlikely (at least in relatively modern times).  Thanks to Teresa
Claudino for this information, and as almost every hedgie lover out there
probably feels, I can only hope this is true!  ;-}

It appears that Finland (now) allows African Pigmy hedgehogs as pets:

   We (yes, here in Finland) now have pet hedgehogs, and its all legal too! 

   (1) it is illegal to hold "European Hedgehogs" as pets in Finland.
   They are a "protected" spieces, but there are some things you can do:

   o It is legal to feed the hedgehogs on your yard, as long as you don't 
   take them home

   o It is legal to build them shelters on your yard, as long as you don't 
   take them home

   o And (this should be ok) you can take hurt hedgehogs to see a veterinarian

   (2) apparenlty this protection law doesn't apply to other spieces of 
   hedghogs such as the African Pigmy Hedgehog.  Hence they can be freely 
   kept as pets.  There are several rules you need to obey when bringing 
   a pet hedgehog from abroad to Finland, but they are mostly quarantine 
   and paperwork related.

   (3) you can now find pigmy hedgies in at least one pet store (sorry, 
   can't really say much more about this).  As far as I can tell, there
   is now somewhere between 10 and 20 pet hedgehogs in Finland.  I know 
   one other owner personally, and know that one couple purchased one from 
   the same petstore we got Noa from.  These hedgies arrived from the USA 
   during summer 2001.  There should also be at least one breeding couple, 
   but I don't have much info on that.
   -- Marcin Dobrucki

It also appears that African Pigmy hedgehogs (both the white bellied and
especially the Egyptian long-eared varieties) are quite popular as pets in
Japan, and are legal there.  My thanks to Tetsuro Oka, DVM for this

There is also a growing interest in hedgehogs as pets coming from other parts
of Southeast Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.), and from South America
(Brazil, in particular).  I am presuming that they are legal as pets in these
locations (or that there are no laws limiting pets in place), but that `is'
an assumption on my part, only.

Again, I have no official confirmation of most of these (although the bans
listed at the beginning, of this list, are pretty certain), and you should
probably check first.  There are a number of U.S. states that require
permits, and various localities, and individual municipalities may also
require special permits.

While keeping European hedgehogs as pets is not permitted throughout much of
Europe, there are exceptions.  I believe it is quite common in Russia, and
there is an interesting situation in Germany, as related by Jan Micheel:

   It is generally illegal to keep pet (European) hedgehogs in Germany since 
   they are an endangered species and therefore protected.

   There is a notable exception: if you happen to find a specimen in the 
   autumn months which does not appear to be fit for winter (there is also 
   a weight limit), you may keep it until the end of winter. 

   In this case, hedgehogs get free medical treatment.

To my mind, at least, this is a policy worthy of some real commendation, and
one that should probably be a model for other countries and animals as well.
Is my pro-hedgehog bias showing again?  ;-}

User Contributions:

Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 26, 2012 @ 10:22 pm
Hi, my hedgehog started running around her cage squealing so I took her out to see what was wrong. Her genital area was inflamed and she had open sores all around that area. I gave her a bath, but I'm really worried about her. Do you have any idea what this could be?
Thank you!

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:


Top Document: Hedgehog FAQ [3/7] - Intro to Hedgehogs as pets
Previous Document: <3.1> What are hedgehogs? Should I get one? What's good and bad about them as pets?
Next Document: <3.3> Are hedgehogs wild animals?

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