The CA Depart. of Fish and Game claims hedgehogs, "can become pests where they have been introduced into the wild in new areas." However, rats, mice, and hamsters are all currently legal in California, and would be considered pests by many people if let loose as well. It is not the intention of future hedgehog owners to release their pets into the wild. However, if they did, there is no possible way they would find an opposite sex hedgehog, breed, make it through the gestation period of thirty-five days in the wild, and escape the many predators California naturally has. If cats and dogs, which are just as domesticated as hedgehogs, cannot survive when they are let loose due to mountain lions, hawks, and other predators, then how will a hedgehog survive the same habitat? In fact, hedgehogs have often been found in the pallets of owls. Not only do they have animal predators, but human-made predators as well. Pesticides and cars are a common fatality in hedgehog deaths in the United States. Hedgehogs have a tendency to curl up in a ball when they are threatened, which would not stop a car, motorcycle, truck, or any other man made device.
It is also noted that their diseases will disrupt California's natural wildlife, however, as aforementioned, they would not live long enough in the wild to pass on their supposed diseases.
Hedgehogs are also not dangerous, as some people believe. Often confused for a porcupine, a hedgehog’s quills are soft. It is true they have teeth, but they are only as harmful as a rat, mouse, or hamster’s bite.
Hedgehogs can also be helpful! Keeping them around the house will lower the amount of insects in and around your house!
Illegal hedgehog breeders in California may rear their hedgehogs in conditions unsafe for the animal and/or unsafe for the environment. If the hedgehog became legal to own and breed in California, legal professional breeders who recognize the consequences of accidentally releasing hedgehogs into the wild would start up, giving the hedgehogs a safe environment to be raised and sold in while decreasing their rate of escape, and they would bring money to the state from this new legitimate source of revenue.
Works Cited and External Links
"Hedgehogs, Hedgehog Pictures, Hedgehog Facts - National Geographic." Animals - Animal Pictures - Wild Animal Facts - Nat Geo Wild - National Geographic. Web. 12 Oct. 2011.
"Hedgehog." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 23 Sept. 2011. Web. 12 Oct. 2011.
"Predators & Hazards." The Hedghogz Home Page. Web. 12 Oct. 2011.
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