Introducing, the modern day pet hamster.
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Okay, it's actually a hedgehog, and a growing number of Americans are adopting these prickly porcupine-like creatures -- nicknamed hedgies -- as house pets despite some state laws that say it's illegal.
Massachusetts, which does not outlaw hedgehog keeping, seems to be the hub for hedgehog breeders in New England. That's probably because area states like New York and Maine don't allow residents to own them without a permit.
The African Pygmy is the most popular domesticated hedgie offered by breeders. Jill Warnick, who lives in Brookline, owns Jill's New England Hedgehogs, a home-based company that has been breeding hedgehogs since 1995.
"A socialized hedgehog will not mind being picked up and will lay its quills flat as a gesture of trust," Warnick wrote on her website.
However, she wrote, they require a bit of training to the point where they'll be comfortable around humans. Even still, it's not likely they'll come out to interact considering they're nocturnal.
There are more than a dozen hedgehog-friendly veterinarians in the Bay State.
Are you considering owning a hedgehog? Get on the waiting list. Breeders like Crespo's Crazy Critters in North Central Massachusetts say they've found forever homes for their hedgies as far out as Maryland. Prospective owners will have to show up in person because most breeders like Crespo's don't ship.
Warnick recommends joining an online Hedgehog Help Group and the International Hedgehog Club to connect with other hedgehog owners and learn more about taking them as pets.