many bells down

Dear Pennsylvania: What’s your beef with hedgehogs?
April 11, 2006, 2:20 pm
Filed under: Animals, Things that make you go 'Hmm.'

baby hedgehog.jpgWhen I saw this post yesterday on Cute Overload (one of my favorite websites ever) I decided that I must have a hedgehog.  Immediately.  Seriously, just look at how cute that little baby is!  So, in pursuit of the latest cute thing to catch my eye and like any good journalist, I decided to do my homework.  Where do you get hedgehogs, anyway?  The only place I had ever seen them was in Boreham, England, where they were so plentiful you had to watch where you were walking in the grass or you might have stepped on one!

At first the information was really encouraging.  Hedgehogs are way cheaper than designer dogs, running about $100 to $150 (shipping adds another $200 to the cost, however).  They eat dry catfood (sweet! I know I'll have plenty of that) and are easy to domesticate.  They have distinct personalities and can be litter trained.  And the babies are called hoglets.  Hoglets!!!  Sure, you need a special permit to own one in Pennsylvania, which I'm sure is a pain to procure, but wouldn't a little hedgehog be worth it?  Yes, I decided.  I must have a little prickly ball of love.  Must.

But then I came upon the most disturbing news I think I have ever heard.  Hedgehogs, if found in Pennsylvania, are confiscated and "taken away," which can that they are shipped out of state or that they're euthanized.  Special permit my ass!  And since I live in Pennsie, this put a pretty severe dent in my plan to own a hoggie.  According to HedgeHogCentral,

A very unfortunate political battle has developed within the State of Pennsylvania making hedgehogs illegal to the point where threats have been made against even the transport of hedgehogs through the state on the way to another state.  All of this is the result of an initial (and unusual) law established in the 1990s. Under that law, hedgehogs within the state were legal, but it was illegal to import fresh bloodlines into the state. A few breeders violated that law resulting in the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) declaring all out war on all hedgehogs within the state. Breeder's homes have been raided and their hedgehogs confiscated with all of the zeal of a major drug bust. Suffice it to say, owning a hedgehog in Pennsylvania under the draconian rule of PGC is extremely dangerous for both owner and hedgehog.

Okay, so it's a little melodramatic, but a 2002 Citypaper article seems to confirm the website's assertion.  The big concern among officials, according to the article, is that the hedgehogs will escape and wreak havoc on PA's natural wildlife.  That would be a pretty good reason…except the hedgehogs most often found in the United States are native to Africa and thrive in warm climates; they are unlikely to survive a cold Pennsylvania winter.  In fact, PA is one of only five states where hedgehogs are illegal – the others, like Arizona and Hawaii, have warm climates where hedgehogs could thrive.

Pennsylvania doesn't just ban hedgehogs – it bans all exotic animals.  So it doesn't look like I'll be getting a duck-billed platypus either.  At least not anytime soon. And that makes me very sad inside.

[Photo Source]


2 Comments so far
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I had the same reaction to the pics of hedgies on “Cute Overload”, and I’m just as irritated and saddened by the laws in PA as you are! I can’t find anything definitive online about what the law states EXACTLY, but a friend who is an Allegheny County cop said that 99 times out of 100, nobody is going to know if you have such a beast, unless you are raising them for profit, and have a lot of traffic in your home/shop. I’m going to look at the Game Commission’s website and see if there is anything there about hedgehogs, or at least a contact phone number. I’ve wanted a pet to augment my 3 cats, and the hedgies are perfect, because they aren’t aggressive, stinky or vulnerable to cats (the kitties hate the quills, of course). I’ll try to post my results, if I get any!

Comment by Carol Rose Parker

But what are NJ’s laws? 😉

Comment by R

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