Are Hedgehogs Legal in California? Hedgehog Laws in California

Due to their distinct charm, hedgehogs are a popular pet around the globe. Although these prickly animals are attractive, 

Are hedgehogs legal in California? Californians are not allowed to keep them as pets. In California, it is unlawful to keep any of the 17 species of hedgehogs as pets. To safeguard the local ecosystems and habitats, laws have been implemented (covering both plants and other creatures).

California is renowned for its stringent rules and legislation, particularly about exotic pet ownership. Many individuals would like to have hedgehogs as pets, but they frequently inquire as to whether this is permitted in California. We’ll go over California’s rules on hedgehog ownership in this blog post and give you all the details you require.

In this article, we will talk about certain regulations and laws in California that state that it is unlawful to own any species of hedgehog. This stringent approach stems from worries about the possible effects on the environment and the dangers to local fauna.

Are Hedgehogs Legal in California?

Because it is thought that pet hedgehogs might escape into the wild and establish colonies, endangering the state’s delicate ecosystem, hedgehogs are prohibited in California. A non-native colony’s quick spread could also jeopardize local agriculture and wildlife and lead to an imbalance between the species.

To safeguard agriculture, crops, and wildlife in general, the Department of Fish and Wildlife has a comprehensive list of non-native species that are prohibited. It is thought that because of its perfect climate, species like hedgehogs can flourish in their new surroundings and put other native species in jeopardy.

California has standard animal welfare regulations that cover all pets, including hedgehogs. These rules mandate that owners give their pets—including hedgehogs—the appropriate attention, housing, and food. You must become knowledgeable about these regulations to protect your spiky companion.

Key Takeaways

  • California does not allow the legal ownership of hedgehogs as pets.
  • These rules have been put in place by the state to safeguard regional ecosystems.
  • Hedgehogs that have escaped or been released may compete with local species, upsetting the natural equilibrium.

Are Hedgehogs Legal To Own in California

hedgehog as pets in california

Hedgehogs are indeed illegal to own as pets in California. Unlike some other states, California has some specific laws prohibiting the ownership of hedgehogs. This means that you can not legally have these adorable spiky creatures as companions in the Golden State.

In California, a person needs a permit from the Department of Fish and Wildlife to lawfully own a hedgehog. Rarely are permits awarded, and when they are, it’s usually exclusively for conservation, research, or teaching purposes—not for pet ownership.

The process involves:

  • Completing an application that specifies the ownership goal.
  • Evidence that the pet will be housed in a secure environment.
  • Delivering any extra paperwork that the department requests.

Once issued, a permit frequently has strict requirements, and it needs to be renewed yearly to make sure that all rules and regulations are followed.

California Hedgehog Laws

If you are found to have a hedgehog in California, you face severe penalties that may include fines and even jail time. Receiving a civil fine is the first phase, which entails being in charge of the animal’s evacuation, care, and storage. 

This might cost you anywhere from $500 to $10,000, depending on how harshly the local police handle your case and whether you have a history of other infractions.

Then there is additional criminal prosecution, which in this state is regarded as a misdemeanor. This can ultimately result in a $1000 state punishment and six months in county prison.

Although it is completely illegal to own a hedgehog as a pet in California, it may still be doable. Thus, it is highly recommended that you do not. The only time this wouldn’t apply is if you had a permit.

Generally, the only circumstances in which a permit would probably be granted are those involving educational institutions or licensed, approved animal facilities (like zoos).

And even then, there would be a lengthy list of conditions and guidelines that had to be followed. Hedgehogs are generally not practical or acceptable pets for the typical Californian.

What Happens If You’re Caught With A Hedgehog?

What happens if you are caught with a hedgehog in California

You run the danger of being apprehended if you break the law and maintain a hedgehog as a pet in California. You can find yourself in trouble if someone—a neighbor, coworker, or acquaintance—notifies the authorities. The following outcomes could occur if you were discovered in the company of one of these animals:

  • Get a $500 civil fine or more
  • Face criminal prosecution and misdemeanor charges
  • Have the hedgehog removed, and assume financial responsibility for the animal’s removal and upkeep.
  • This may result in several months behind bars as well as further fines.

As you can see, having a hedgehog without a permit may result in a criminal conviction, and unlawful hedgehog ownership in California carries some very significant repercussions.

Unless, naturally, you have the permission to do so. The hedgehog’s destiny should also be considered in this situation. Since hedgehogs are not native to the area, they cannot be returned to the wild.

The hedgehog is likely to be put to death if the authorities are unable to find a safe new home for it outside of the state, which is highly improbable.

Though depressing, it’s the truth. Therefore, it is not a good idea to possess a hedgehog in California. Still, keep in mind that many different organizations have the power to determine your destiny.

Can you get a permit to own a hedgehog in California?

Regretfully, California is among the states where possessing a hedgehog is prohibited. I believe that in California, hedgehog permits may be granted for educational purposes, although this is not very common. Give the California Department of Fish and Game a call if you wish to proceed with obtaining a permit. 

Legally, people in California are allowed to keep hedgehogs as pets as long as they get the required permission from the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Anybody in California who wants to own a hedgehog must first apply for a permit from the Department of Fish and Wildlife in California. If the necessary permit is not obtained, there may be legal repercussions, which might include penalties and the hedgehog being taken.

All municipal, state, and federal rules governing the ownership and upkeep of exotic pets, including but not restricted to those governing enclosure specifications, licensing requirements, and health and safety requirements, must be followed by the hedgehog’s owner.

The laws of the State of California shall govern this transaction. This agreement replaces all previous and contemporaneous understandings and agreements between the parties about the ownership of a hedgehog in California. It represents the whole agreement between the parties on this matter.

Applications for permits to keep hedgehogs have increased recently, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. There is an increasing interest in owning these unusual pets, as seen by the nearly 500 permit applications for hedgehog ownership that the department received in 2020.

What States are Hedgehogs illegal?

What States are Hedgehogs illegal?

Because some hedgehogs can spread hazardous foot-and-mouth disease, several areas have outlawed the hobby of keeping hedgehogs. Their rough spines can penetrate the skin and cause infections, and they can spread the salmonella bacterium as well as viruses and fungi.

The Enumeration Of Places Where Hedgehogs Are Illegal

  1. California.
  2. Georgia.
  3. Hawaii.
  4. Pennsylvania.
  5. The New York City Five Boroughs.
  6. The District of Columbia.

Are African Pygmy Hedgehogs Legal in California

African Pygmy Hedgehogs are not legal to keep as pets in California. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife lists them as restricted species under the California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 671. 

They are considered non-native and potentially invasive species, thus their possession is prohibited without special permits for educational or scientific purposes. It’s essential to verify with local authorities or check for any recent changes in regulations since laws regarding exotic pets can vary and may be subject to updates.


1. Are Hedgehogs Legal in California?

No, hedgehogs are not legal to keep as pets in California. It’s against the law to own any species of hedgehog in the state due to concerns about their potential impact on the environment and local wildlife.

2. Can I Get a Permit to Own a Hedgehog in California?

It’s possible to get a permit for certain purposes like education or research, but it’s not common for regular pet ownership. You would need to apply for a permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and failure to do so can lead to penalties and possibly having the hedgehog taken away.

3. What Happens If I’m Caught With a Hedgehog in California?

If you’re found with a hedgehog without a permit in California, you could face fines, criminal charges, and even jail time. Authorities may also remove the hedgehog from your possession and you could be responsible for its care and removal expenses.

Where Else Are Hedgehogs Illegal?

In addition to California, hedgehogs are also illegal to keep as pets in Georgia, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, and the five boroughs of New York City, as well as the District of Columbia.

Are African Pygmy Hedgehogs Legal in California?

No, African Pygmy Hedgehogs are not legal to keep as pets in California. They are considered non-native and potentially invasive species, so special permits are required for educational or scientific purposes.


In summary, the answer to the post question “Are Hedgehogs Legal in California?

Hedgehog ownership is not legal in California due to concerns about its potential impact on the environment and native wildlife. Obtaining a permit for hedgehog ownership in California is rare and typically limited to educational or research purposes. Violating the hedgehog ownership ban can lead to serious penalties, including fines and possible criminal charges. Residents of California need to adhere to these regulations and refrain from keeping hedgehogs as pets to protect the state’s ecosystems.