Illegal pets in PA

I would like to consider myself pretty knowledgeable in the animal department. When I was younger, I would go to the library every chance I could get to read books on animals. Before I was 10 years old, I wrote to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to ask them what classes in school – not even college – would help prepare myself for work in the animal field. But I was surprised to learn a few years ago that there are some animals that are completely illegal to own in Pennsylvania. I had a friend who had just moved to the area from New York. She came here with her pets that she had owned for a couple of years. In her little group of animals, she had an adorable little hedgehog. It was the first time I was ever around one, and that was when she told me it was illegal to have in PA. But her hedgehog was at the end of its lifespan and she just couldn’t leave it in NY or have it put to sleep just because she had to move. This sparked my curiosity as to why such a little creature would be illegal to own and were there any other animals that are on this list. To this day, it seems like there are only 2 species of mammals that are illegal to own: the hedgehog and the Sugar Glider. The Game Commission feels these species have the potential to escape, breed and cause harm to native species. This is part of a larger group known as an injurious species. This group includes: birds, amphibians, reptiles, and aquatic species.


But don’t worry if you’re looking for a small mammal to share your life with, there are several other species you can choose from. This includes: ferrets, rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs, gerbils and hamsters. Next week’s blog will discuss some of the pocket pets.


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