Adorable, but illegal — that’s what officials are calling a healthy hedgehog that was brought in to the Hawaiian Humane Society Sunday.
The animal is now in the custody of the state Dept. of Agriculture in its plant quarantine building.
Officials say hedgehogs are not allowed in Hawaii because they feed on insects and we have native insects to protect like the native tree snail.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal and can live up to seven years — this one is about six months old, is albino and its gender is unknown.
When we asked if it will be checked for rabies, spokesman Kevin Minami said it wouldn’t because it was probably a pet and doesn’t believe it’s a host for rabies.
The hedgehog was turned in through the amnesty program and that means they need to keep it alive.
“There are no fines,” Minami said. “We promise we’ll try to keep the animal alive as much as possible and try to re-home it on the mainland or Honolulu Zoo, whichever shows interest. It’s best because then it doesn’t get released into the wild.”
He said since he’s been working at the department, he has seen three other hedgehogs brought to Hawaii.
Minami said hedgehogs on the mainland are sold in pet stores and can be pricey.
But if someone was caught with a hedgehog in Hawaii, it could also be very expensive. According to the department’s website, importing an illegal animal carries a penalty of up to three years in prison and fines up to $500,000.
If anyone needs to report an illegal animal, they are asked to call 643-7378.
Both the Hawaiian Humane Society and Honolulu International Airport are amnesty drop-off sites, so if you have an illegal pet, you can drop it off at either of these places and not be penalized.