Not all animals are cute into adulthood, but hedgehogs are. These nocturnal little foragers are native to Europe, Asia, Africa and the internet, where you can find memes of them bundled into teacups and taking bubble baths. It's no wonder people want to keep hedgehogs as pets because they're arguably as cute as miniature horses, but here's the real question: Is welcoming a pet hedgehog into your life advisable?
Actually, back up. The first question should be: Is welcoming a pet hedgehog into your life legal?
Different countries have different laws about keeping hedgehogs, but in the United States you can legally own a pet hedgehog in all states except Georgia, Hawaii, California, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and five New York City boroughs. Even in these places, it might be legal to have them in your home with special wildlife permits.
Of the 17 species of hedgehog living on four continents, the most common species in the pet trade is the African pygmy hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris). If you're living in a state or country where they are legal to keep, you can obtain one from a breeder or sometimes even find one at a flea market. But just because they're adorable and also legal doesn't mean they're the kind of pet you want, even if the hedgehog aesthetic really meshes with your personal Instagram brand. Here are five questions you need answers to in order to decide whether to hedgehog or not to hedgehog: