Are Hedgehogs Legal In California?

Are Hedgehogs Legal In California

Californians who are looking to own a pet may be surprised to find out that they cannot own just any type of animal. Some animals, such as hedgehogs, are prohibited in California due to the state’s strict regulations and laws regarding wildlife. In this article, we will explore what makes hedgehogs illegal in California and how you can still care for them as a pet if you live in the state.

Unfortunately, hedgehogs are currently illegal to own as pets in the state of California. This is due to the strict regulations and laws regarding wildlife that have been instituted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Reasons Why Hedgehogs Are Not Allowed As Pets In California

  • Non-native species: Hedgehogs are considered a non-native species in California, which means they can be detrimental to native ecosystems if released into the wild.
  • Invasive potential: Hedgehogs can breed quickly, making them more likely to become an invasive species if introduced into an environment where they do not naturally occur.
  • Disease transmission: Hedgehog diseases may also spread to other animals or humans if there is contact with them without proper safety measures being taken.

Obtaining a Hedgehog Permit in California

In California, it is illegal to own any species of hedgehog without a permit. Obtaining a permit requires meeting certain criteria and obtaining the appropriate paperwork from local authorities.

Criteria for Obtaining a Hedgehog Permit in California

  • Proof of Identification: Valid government-issued photo ID must be presented along with the application.
  • Health Certificate: A health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian within 30 days prior to purchase or importation must be provided.
  • Caging Requirements: Applicants must demonstrate proper caging requirements that meet all applicable state and federal regulations before being granted the permit. Cages must provide adequate space, ventilation, temperature regulation, light/dark cycles and other necessary environmental conditions to ensure the wellbeing of the animal.

Application Process for Obtaining a Hedgehog Permit in California

To obtain a permit for owning hedgehogs in California, applicants must submit an application form and accompanying documents to their county public health department. Upon review of the application materials, applicants may either be approved or denied based on whether they meet all required criteria. Approved applicants will receive their permits within two weeks following submission of their applications.

In California, owning a hedgehog is legal under certain conditions. The state has specific laws and regulations regarding the ownership of exotic pets, including hedgehogs. It is important to understand these laws before bringing home a new pet.

Ownership Requirements

California does not allow for the sale or ownership of any wild animals without proper permits from the Department of Fish and Game (DFG). This includes all species of hedgehog that are native to California. Exotic hedgehog species, such as African Pygmy Hedgehogs, may be kept as pets so long as they have been bred in captivity.

Health Requirements

Hedgehogs must be vaccinated against rabies prior to being kept as pets in California. They must also pass a health inspection by an accredited veterinarian prior to being bought or sold.


  • A Rabies vaccination given by an approved veterinarian;
  • An annual physical examination performed by an approved veterinarian; and
  • An annual fecal exam performed by an approved vet for parasites and other potential diseases.

It is recommended that all owners keep their pet’s vaccinations up-to-date at all times.

Housing Requirements

The cage that houses your pet should be large enough for them to move around freely without becoming cramped or uncomfortable. The cage must also provide sufficient ventilation and insulation from extreme temperatures. It is important to note that some cities within California have ordinances prohibiting the keeping of exotic animals indoors, so it is best to check with local authorities before purchasing your pet.

Other Considerations


  • All exotic animal owners are required to obtain a license from the DFG prior to buying or selling their pet. Licenses can be obtained online through the DFG website or through one of its field offices located throughout the state.
  • In addition, owners are expected to adhere to strict guidelines regarding proper care and handling of their pet.

The Laws and Regulations Surrounding Hedgehog Ownership in California

Hedgehogs are a popular pet choice, but they come with their own set of laws and regulations. In the state of California, these laws and regulations exist to protect both hedgehogs and the people who care for them.

Permit Requirements

It is illegal to keep or possess a live hedgehog without first obtaining an appropriate permit from your local county animal control agency. This permit must be renewed annually.

Veterinary Care

In order to ensure that your hedgehog remains healthy, you will need to regularly visit a veterinarian for check-ups and vaccinations. Your vet may also advise you on proper nutrition, exercise routines, and other important aspects of caring for your hedgehog.

Housing Requirements

  • Temperature: The temperature inside your cage should not exceed 85°F (29°C).
  • Bedding: Your hedgehog’s home should include soft bedding material such as wood shavings or hay. Do not use cedar shavings due to potential respiratory problems it can cause in some animals.
  • Cage Size: A minimum of 2 square feet per adult hedgehog is recommended. The cage should also include plenty of hiding places for your pet.

Exercise Requirements

All hedgehogs need regular access to daily exercise outside of their cages. It is best if this happens several times each day so that they get enough stimulation mentally and physically. Exercise wheels are a great way provide enrichment activities for them while allowing them to explore new areas safely.


In conclusion, hedgehogs may make good pets due to their low maintenance needs, but unfortunately they are not legal in California. This is because of the state’s strict regulations and endangered species laws that prohibit owning exotic animals like hedgehogs as pets. If you’re looking for a pet in California, it’s best to check with your local animal control agency first to make sure what kind of animals are allowed in your area.


  • Frederick

    Frederick Faunce is an experienced and passionate hedgehog writer, blogger, and researcher. He has dedicated his life to understanding the conservation and care of hedgehogs, and is committed to educating and inspiring others to do the same.

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