Hedgehogs are rapidly gaining recognition as great pets and are becoming popular in New Jersey. While hedgehogs have become popular, their legal status in New Jersey is still unclear. Currently, the legal status of hedgehogs in New Jersey is that they are considered an exotic animal and require a special permit for ownership. Federal and state wildlife agencies consider hedgehogs to be an exotic wildlife species and require a permit from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Supporters of hedgehog legalization in New Jersey cite the need for hedgehogs to be legally owned, as well as the responsibilities that go along with ownership.
Hedgehogs are not among the traditionally recognized “domestic” animals, meaning that hedgehogs require special care and handling from their owners. Hedgehogs can thrive in a home and make great companions; however, they can be difficult to tame and require specialized care, nutrition, and an escape-proof cage. Currently, only wildlife rehabilitators and zoos are able to obtain hedgehogs legally in New Jersey. The regulation of owning a hedgehog in New Jersey is strictly regulated. Those wishing to keep hedgehogs in New Jersey are required to obtain a Wild Animal Permit (WAP) from the New Jersey Department of Wildlife. To obtain a permit, prospective owners must provide proof of suitable housing, veterinary care, and nutrition.
Additionally, all hedgehogs must be kept in enclosures at least 30 square feet in size and cannot be released into the wild. Additionally, there are concerns from those who oppose the legalization of hedgehogs in New Jersey. Primarily, the opposition cites the risk that hedgehogs could be released into the wild, creating an unwelcome invasive species. There are also concerns that the hedgehogs may not be able to adapt to the local climate, putting them at risk of disease or death. Additionally, some opponents argue that legal hedgehogs may cause an increase in demand, which could lead to unethical breeding practices. Ultimately, hedgehog legalization and regulation in Are Hedgehogs Legal In NJ New Jersey is still a controversial topic.