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Americans 'queuing' for pet hedgehogs

Wednesday June 4th 2014

For many people pet ownership can prove to be a prickly issue with some getting quite spiky when it comes to choosing which animal to go for.

But that spikiness is now taking a very real form in the US thanks to a growing trend for keeping hedgehogs as pets.

Experts say the trend may be down to the fact that the solitary animals need less looking after than cats and dogs - suiting them to people with busy lifestyles - and give off less odour than pets like rabbits, rats and mice.

The popularity of hedgehogs has risen in the US despite several states having laws that ban or put restrictions on keeping them as pets.

Massachusetts-based Jill Warnick, who has been breeding hedgehogs since the 1990s, said she now had a waiting list of around 500.

And a picture of a hedgehog was recently featured on the front cover of National Geographic Magazine to highlight a growing trend for exotic pet ownership.

With hedgehogs having the potential to spread salmonella, those who do keep them as pets are advised to wash their hands after handling, feeding or cleaning them.

Copyright Press Association 2014