The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife agrees with some Mechanic Falls students that hedgehogs would make fine pets. The agency added them to a list of allowable pets.

State Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, submitted a bill on behalf of Mechanic Falls sixth-graders who asked a legislative committee in February if the state could ease restrictions on owning the animals.

It’s not clear if the sixth-graders’ parents agree with them and DIFW.

The law required two permits — the same kind of permits needed to own lions and tigers.

Online hedgehog groups often complain about the state’s “lengthy” process for owning a hedgehog.

“Anyone should be able to have a hedgehog in Maine,” one student told lawmakers.

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Maine had already been looking into the matter. A state wildlife official who spoke after the students left the committee meeting Tuesday said hedgehogs could soon be treated more like hamsters.

But Katie Hansberry, state director for The Humane Society of the United States, put a quill in the students’ dreams of hedgehogs as the perfect prickly pet.

“Hedgehogs don’t always fare that well as pets,” she said.

Owners may disrupt their natural nocturnal sleeping patterns and the animals risk acquiring a debilitating disease known as wobbly hedgehog syndrome, she said.

Hedgehog breeder and trainer Jennifer Crespo, of Gardner, Massachusetts, holds a pet hedgehog in 2014 at her home in Gardner. 

More political coverage….


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