Whether you are a current resident or looking to migrate to Australia, the thought of a pet hedgehog may appeal to you. But can you actually do so? This is what you need to know.
So, can you own a hedgehog in Australia? It is illegal to own a hedgehog as a pet or import them into Australia. Hedgehogs are classified as ‘exotic’, along with several other animals that do not occur naturally in the wild. Laws have therefore been put in place to prevent pests and diseases from being introduced to the environment.
In reality, hedgehogs are actually part of quite a long list of restricted animals.
And while it may seem frustrating or upsetting to learn, there are sound and logical reasons behind such restrictions.
Let us now take a closer look at them before turning to whether it is possible to obtain a permit.
Lastly, we’ll be finishing up with some other animals the average Australian resident cannot own as a pet.
Why Are Hedgehogs Illegal To Own In Australia?
Hedgehogs are illegal to own across all of Australia to protect the environment, native wildlife, and the general public.
Here is what the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment of Australia have to say on unique and exotic pets:
‘Live animals and animal products from overseas could introduce some of the world’s most damaging pests and diseases into Australia. This could devastate our unique environment.’
And hedgehogs make the list.
Now, you are probably wondering what makes them unique and exotic.
Well, that is any animal that is not native to the country itself.
Or in other words, you would not find them naturally in the wild.
Instead, Australia is home to a number of fascinating animals distinctive to the continent.
From Kangaroos, Koalas and Wallaby’s all the way through to Wombats and Dingo’s.
All of which need protecting.
And by putting in laws to prevent new animals from entering the ecosystem is one such way that they can be.
There is also the matter of predation here.
And adding new animals to an ecosystem can entirely disrupt the balance. It can mean the food supply is drastically altered – to the point where some animals can be endangered.
While we are talking about the wild here, pets are always at risk of being released or escape.
And this is not a risk the Australian authorities are willing to take.
Can You Get A Permit To Own A Hedgehog In Australia?
There are no such permits that allow the ownership of a pet Hedgehog in Australia. The only exception would be a permit provided to a Zoo, and even then, there would be a number of stipulations that would need to be met.
In reality, only registered and authorized facilities that have years of training, hands-on experience, controls, and measures in place are generally afforded such a license.
Take for instance, the Australia Zoo in Queensland as an example.
If you visit their ‘our animals‘ page, you’ll notice they even have an entire animal group dedicated to exotic animals.
Unfortunately, for the average Australian citizen, you just would not get a permit even if you were to apply. They are not viable pets in this continent, as unfortunate as it may sound.
Other Animals You Cannot Own As Pets In Australia
Australia has a pretty extensive list of animals that cannot be owned as pets. And the regulations are even more stringent if any importation is involved or an animal is classified as ‘exotic’. In fact, all introduced animals are prohibited as pets unless they are listed as exceptions.
Even the cute, ‘relatively harmless’ hamster is not legally permitted to be owned.
As such, the most common pets to keep in Australia usually include the following:
- Guinea pigs
In fact, Animals Medicine Australia, the government institution, produced a national survey and report of pet ownership in the country.
While 61% of Australians have been recorded as owning a pet, the numbers behind this are very interesting:
‘Around 40% of Australian households include at least one dog, making them the most popular type of pets. This is followed by cats (27%), fish (11%), birds (9%), small mammals (3%), and reptiles (2%) – with another 2% of households reporting that they have pets such as horses, goats, cows, alpacas, and hermit crabs.’
And ownership of these pets can get even more complicated if any import is involved.
There are strict rules around their importation.
For instance, even dogs and cats will need to undergo several months of preparation, and once arrived, will need to spend at least 10 days in a government quarantine facility.
The exact importation requirements for these animals can be found on the government website here.
When it comes to other ‘exotic’ animals that are entirely banned from pet ownership, these include:
In regards to fish: live fish can only be imported for aquarium trade or for laboratory research.
Pet fish are not permitted to be imported into Australia.
Equally, frogs and other amphibians can only be imported for laboratory or zoological purposes.
And then any food (such as dried insects) or medicine (which also includes supplements) that will be given to an animal will require an import permit issued by the Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment.
If you live in Australia, you’re not going to be able to own a pet hedgehog.
Along with a number of other ‘exotic animals’ for that matter.
But it’s for necessary reasons.
And pets are regulated at the state level, meaning that the laws, laws, and regulations apply to all states.
With only one real exception, you can keep a rabbit in New South Wales (NSW) but not in Queensland.
Nevertheless, if you are looking to own any pet in Australia, it’s imperative to check with the authorities first.
If any importation is involved, then this is even more crucial.
Nevertheless, here is an excellent place to start your research.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.