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Can You Have A Hedgehog As A Pet In California? Your Legal Rights

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Are you wondering if you can have a hedgehog as a pet in California? You are asking a very question before you bring a pet hedgehog hog. 

We know how important pets are. They provide us with some company, make us learn about empathy, and these animals also receive some love and haven. It sounds like a great deal for both humans and the animal involved.

However, many states do not allow ownership of various animals as pets. You need to know the types of exotic pets that your state allows before you proceed to bring one into your home. 

Related: Best Hedgehog Cages

Can You Have A Hedgehog As A Pet In California?

Unfortunately, California is one of those states that do not allow you to own a hedgehog. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) restricts ownership of non-native wild species as pets for various reasons. These include:

  • There are potential dangers when we introduce a non-native animal back into the wild. It could be the transmission of diseases between the native and non-native animals. Also, the wild is full of predators, and the native or non-native animal might be the predator. 
  • For the protection of the public’s health – even if their quills don’t readily detach from their bodies like those of porcupines, they can still penetrate the human skin. Hedgehogs transmit diseases like salmonella and ringworms to humans. 
  • For the safety and protection of local natural resources and agriculture

Are there any exemptions?

Yes, there are exemptions to this law, but one has to apply for a permit through the CDFW. Also, these permits are only issued to qualified institutions and individuals for particular reasons like:

  • Research 
  • For shelter 
  • Public exhibition 

Other Restricted Animals In California 

Hedgehogs are not the only pets that California does not allow. Other pets include:

  • Monkeys – the CDFW does not allow ownership of primates like monkeys and chimpanzees. The department considers them a threat to public safety and health as well as a threat to native agriculture and wildlife. However, you can apply for a permit to own one for research or training for entertainment. 
  • Ferret – you can only own one for research or when transporting a rescue from the state. You will also need to have a permit from the CDFW. The department also considers these as a threat to native wildlife and agriculture. 
  • Gerbil – California has a similar climate as that of the gerbil’s natural habitant- the desert. Due to this, CDFW considers gerbils a threat to native plants, animals, and crops if they are released and form colonies.  
  • Squirrel – as much as there are many wild squirrels in California, it is still illegal for you to own one.  Squirrels do not have a reflex when it comes to chewing, so they will chew on anything they find tasty. It could be your furniture, clothes, or drywalls.  

Other states that you cannot have a pet hedgehog

California is not the only state where you cannot own a pet hedgehog. Other counties and states with this law include:

  1. New York
  2. Georgia 
  3. Virginia 
  4. Hawaii 
  5. Fairfax County 
  6. Nebraska 

With a permit, you can own a hedgehog in the below places:

  1. New Jersey 
  2. Maine 
  3. Arizona 
  4. Wisconsin 
  5. Wyoming 
  6. Pennsylvania 

Can I own a fox in California?

No, California is one of a few states that have banned the domestic keeping of foxes. Others include Texas and Oregon. Thre are some states that allow you to own a pet fox but only with a permit. You are not allowed to import a fox from stat to state without one. There are also some states that allow you to keep a fox, but only if you caught it yourself in the wild.  

What exotic animals can you own in California?

There are a few exotic animals that you are legally allowed to own in California. These are domestic pets and anyone can own them. The 10 of the most exotic animals are:

  • Hybrid cats
  • Zebras
  • Monitor Lizards
  • American Bison
  • Second Generation ‘Wolfdogs’
  • Large Constrictor Snakes
  • Toucans
  • Camels
  • Ostrich
  • Tarantulas
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