The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Did You Know That It's Illegal to Keep Hedgehogs As Pets In Some States?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Did You Know That It's Illegal to Keep Hedgehogs As Pets In Some States?

Baby hedgehog
These quilly animals require less maintenance than cats and dogs. They're not smelly. They're hypoallergenic. And objectively, they're really, really cute.

Yet African pygmy hedgehogs—the species most commonly sought-after by pet owners—are illegal to keep as pets in Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and the five boroughs of New York City. That's because, while hedgehogs may look cuddly and unassuming indoors, the animals can wreak havoc on local ecosystems if they get out, experts say.

State fish and wildlife officials say the 17 different known species of hedgehog can disrupt native communities if they are released into the wild. A budding population of hedgehogs would compete for food and habitat with species naturally found in those areas. Other exotic pets, such as sugar gliders and Quaker parakeets, are banned in some states for the same reason.

Some hedgehog species can also carry foot-and-mouth disease, a highly contagious virus that affects cloven-hoofed animals, such as cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. The most devastating outbreak of the disease in the U.S. came in 1914, when more than 170,000 farm animals became infected. There hasn't been an outbreak since 1929, and government officials want to keep it that way.


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