Are Hedgehogs Illegal in California? [2023]

Are Hedgehogs Illegal in California

 Hedgehogs are these adorable little creatures with spiky coats. One of the first things you notice about hedgehogs is their spines. 

Those spiky quills all over their bodies are actually modified hairs. They use them as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened. It’s like having a natural suit of armor. Hedgehogs are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Are Hedgehogs Illegal in California

Unfortunately, it is against the law to keep a hedgehog as a pet in California. The possible effect on the local environment is the key worry behind this limitation. So, to protect the native wildlife and maintain the ecological balance, they’ve made it illegal to keep hedgehogs as pets. All in all, we can’t hold anything against California trying to preserve its unique biodiversity and maintain the natural balance.

What Happens if You Own a Hedgehog in California?

A civil penalty ranging from $500 to $10,000 plus the expense of removing and taking care of the animal will be implemented if an individual is found owning a hedgehog. It is possible for wildlife officials in California to seize your hedgehog if you are discovered to be keeping one as a pet.

Unless or until you have a legal permit to own a hedgehog, you are good to go – otherwise the repercussions can be pretty heavy.

How do I Get a Hedgehog Permit in California?

Are Hedgehogs Illegal in California

For the majority of people, the only ways to obtain a permission to acquire a hedgehog are for educational purposes or via a recognised and approved animal institution, such as a zoo or safari park .

Hedgehog ownership requests from exempt groups and individuals are granted special authorization by the Game and Fish Commission or the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Before they award you a special permission, there will be a large list of conditions that you must meet, including veterinary exams.

Why are Hedgehogs Illegal California?

As you are undoubtedly aware, a large number of the plants, birds, invertebrates, and insects in the environment play a crucial part in maintaining the ecosystem’s balance and order. The delicate ecosystem may be disturbed if even one new species, say a hedgehog, were to go wild in the area and start eating these living creatures.

A destabilised environment might lead to grave repercussions like the overpopulation of some species or even the extinction of entire species. Because of this, the state of California takes very seriously its ban on citizens owning hedgehogs as pets.

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Hedgehogs Ban CA

Are Hedgehogs Illegal in California

Hedgehogs are prohibited in order to save both animals and vegetation. Hedgehog ownership is illegal in California, and violators risk jail time or a hefty fine. Hedgehogs may spread disease, which is one of the reasons California has banned them as pets. Like porcupine quills, theirs are not easily detached from their bodies.


Although it may make you feel bad that you are unable to legally keep a hedgehog as a pet in California, the law is in place for a good reason. Perhaps knowing that hedgehogs dislike being handled and that you could never actually snuggle with one would help you feel better. You’ll need to leave California if you’re intent on having a pet hedgehog. If not, you’ll need to decide on a different animal to bring home as a pet.

JD Lipton