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Old 04-12-2015, 09:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 4
Default Greetings from Pennsylvania


I'm the father of a 14 year-old girl who has been pressing me for a pet hedgehog for years. For a very long time, the answer was "no" - because we already had a pet chinchilla which had been in our home for decades. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, our chinchilla recently passed away at age 21. Therefore, a pet hedgehog is metaphorically back on the table.

Being from Pennsylvania, the animals are illegal to own as pets. So is my daughter; she has done everything short of showing up at the homes of our state representatives. In fact, during a school field trip to the state capital in Harrisburg, she confronted our state senator on the floor of the Senate, and demanded to know why he had not responded to her letters about hedgehog legalization.

I'm willing to flaunt Pennsylvania law in order to get her a (single) hedgehog. The fact remains that she's 14 years old, which means she'll be heading off to college in four years, and any animal we buy for her will have to remain in our care. Therefore, it makes more sense for her to have the pet sooner, so she'll be able to enjoy it longer. And that means we may have to take a chance with the Pennsylvania hedgehog authorities.

I challenged my daughter to put together two PowerPoint presentations for me. The purpose of the first one was to illustrate the differences between caring for a chinchilla (which I'm extremely familiar with), versus caring for a hedgehog. The second one, which I knew would be a challenge, would highlight why a hedgehog would make a poor pet. I want to understand ALL the downsides. Besides - being able to convincingly argue for a perspective that you don't hold is a difficult but useful skill.

She did both admirably, and I'm running out of excuses. But I still have some questions for which I'd like the practical answers - which (based on my chinchilla ownership experience) aren't always the same as the textbook answers.

Before I get presumptuous and start firing off questions, forum etiquette dictates that I start out with an introductory post, which I've now done. Greetings, all.
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
Tongue_Flicker's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Madina't Isa, Bahrain
Posts: 1,122

Hello welcome aboard..

Hmm.. Timewise (your daughter's remaining petkeeping time), hedgehogs are a better option since they normally have good 5-7 year lifespan on them than having a two decade old chinchilla.

I personally haven't kept a chinchilla, let alone see one in person (we don't have those for sale here and they'll die due to climate conditions lol) so i can't really say much about how fun they could be as pets


" With great power comes great electricity bill... "
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Old 04-13-2015, 04:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Manning, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 8,486

Please please reconsider owning a hedgehog will living in PA. As you know they are illegal there and PA has the strictest laws in all of the US concerning the owning of a hedgehog. This means that any vet that treated it could be penalized for not reporting it and could refuse to treat it or end up reporting that you own one. If that happened your hedgehog would be removed from your home and either re-homed out side of the state or euthanized. Even just transporting an hedgehog through the state can result in it being confiscated. Please ask your daughter to reconsider wanting to have one and maybe think of a different pet for now. If she really cares about animals she won't want to endanger an animal just to make herself happy.
Retired breeder and active HWS rescue station
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Old 04-14-2015, 02:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Canada
Posts: 335

"She did both admirably, and I'm running out of excuses."

The only excuse you need is that they are illegal, and the hedgehog could be euthanized if you're caught with it in the state. This means no taking your hedgehog outside, no showing your daughter's friends (they could have parents with "connections" to law enforcement), no cute pictures on Instagram, etc. Do you really want to have to hide this animal? Plus, who is going to treat it if it gets sick? (And it will get sick at least once.)
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Old 04-14-2015, 10:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 3,410

I also am from Pennsylvania. I have wanted a hedgie for many years. Because of this I have been a member of this forum for almost seven years. If time was not an issue based on selected dates, I would attend the annual hedgie convention every year! As you are a parent, I can certainly understand your wanting to help your daughter. It is also admirable that she created Powerpoint programs to demonstrate the pros and cons of owning a hedgie. I just need to say that I could not possibly risk having an animal that I love and cherish euthanized because I put my own wishes above his/her life.
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Old 04-14-2015, 11:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 4

Yeah, as I posted in another thread, I had not considered the unavailability of veterinary services, and that's an automatic deal-breaker. So for now, my daughter is falling back on her plan of hassling state officials to change the law.

Many thanks, all.
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