Can I Legally Own a North American Porcupine In My State or Country?

Normally, the North American porcupine is spotted throughout various states and countries as a wild animal. While they are not related to hedgehogs, porcupines look like bigger hedgehogs that could be household pets!

The North American Porcupine is legal to own in most states in the USA, except a few like California or Georgia. If you’re thinking about getting a porcupine as a pet, however, you will need to check city and county restrictions first. 

In that case, it is important to remember that each state does not have the same laws! Each country, city, and county will have its own set of regulations regarding porcupines as pets.

Join us at Floofmania as we take a deeper look into porcupines being legal pets in the USA, Europe, and more!

Are Porcupines Legal As Pets In The USA?

North American porcupine walking on a  suspended log in a zoo enclosure.

While the USA is compromised of 50 states, each state will have its own laws regarding animals. Here is a list of each state and if porcupines are legal to own as pets there!


It could be legal to own porcupines in Alabama since they are not listed as illegal pets. 


You can own a North American porcupine in Alaska since most exotic animals are allowed to be owned as pets. You only require permits to own live game, which does not include porcupines.


Similar to Alaska, Arizona will allow you to own most exotic animals. While they do not explicitly state if North American Porcupines are permitted, you can own African-crested porcupines in Arizona.


Arkansas does not directly state if you can own porcupines. Based on the animals that they allow and do not allow, you are mostly restricted to not owning dangerous native and non-native animals.

As such, we can assume that porcupines are allowed since they allow native bobcats, rabbits, raccoons, etc. to be in households.


You are not allowed to own porcupines of any kind as pets in California.


Unfortunately, Colorado does not allow people to own porcupines of any kind as pets in the state. 


Connecticut does not state whether they allow porcupines, but they do allow most exotic animals to be pets, such as hedgehogs, ocelots, and even wolves. However, they do state that you need a permit and often are only allowed only one exotic pet to avoid breeding.


Delaware does not have a list of any specific banned animals. However, Delaware usually requires people to get permits to own exotic and wild animals like a North American porcupine.

District of Columbia

You are likely allowed to own porcupines here because they allow domesticated rodents and do not specify if other rodents like porcupines are allowed. However, you will have to get an annual animal hobby permit to have more than six animals that are bigger than guinea pigs.


Florida does not clearly state if they allow porcupines to be pets. However, most kinds of wildlife will require permits to be legally owned, so you are likely allowed to get a porcupine with a permit.

North American porcupine eating green leaves from a bush in rocky terrain.


Georgia likely does not allow porcupines as pets since you are not permitted to own most types of wildlife.


Porcupines are not allowed to be owned in Hawaii.


Idaho states that you are allowed to take unprotected wildlife as long as they are native to the state, not endangered or threatened, and not a large predatory animal. As such, you are likely allowed to own a North American porcupine because it does not fall into those categories.


You cannot have porcupines in Illinois because they are categorized as dangerous animals.


While Indiana does not explicitly say if you can own a porcupine, they do offer permits to own various wild animals, which you may need to get for a porcupine.


You cannot have porcupines in Iowa because they do not allow the possession of most non-game animals.


Despite allowing most rodents to be pets, Kansas does not allow porcupines to be pets.


Kentucky does not require permits to own most forms of wildlife. However, inherently dangerous animals are not allowed, and a porcupine may be considered one due to their quills.


Louisiana’s laws will depend on the city. For instance, New Orleans does not allow wild animals like porcupines to be owned.


Based on the given law, if you acquire a North American porcupine through a pet shop or dealer, you may own one.

However, it is worth noting that Maine does not allow ownership of other species, such as Brazilian porcupines or Crested porcupines.


According to Maryland’s laws, you are not allowed to own a North American porcupine.


Massachusetts has strict laws that state the only mammals you can own have to be domesticated or legal, and porcupines are not on their given list.


Technically, you can own a porcupine in Michigan, but not as a pet. You may ask for a permit if you were to rehabilitate and release or use a porcupine for scientific purposes.


The porcupine is an unprotected animal in Minnesota, and Minnesota does not have restrictions about taking them. However, it is best to ask an animal department if you need a permit to own one.


Porcupines are not listed as animals that are specifically illegal in Mississippi. However, you may require a permit because they may be deemed dangerous animals.

North American porcupine sitting in the snow.


You are likely allowed to own a North American porcupine in Missouri, but you will have to check the hunting laws first since they may change what animals you are not allowed to hunt since they align with what animals you are allowed to possess.


You are probably not permitted to own a North American porcupine in Montana since you cannot take or possess healthy wildlife.


You cannot own porcupines in Nebraska since the state laws mandate that you cannot own local wildlife that is neither endangered, threatened, or in need of conservation.


Nevada allows you to own porcupines since they are not listed as illegal but you will need to check your municipality’s laws first.

New Hampshire

You are not allowed to own porcupines of any kind in New Hampshire.

New Jersey

You are allowed to own North American porcupines in New Jersey given that you have a permit.

New Mexico

New Mexico does not allow wild animals like porcupines to be pets.

New York

You may own a pet porcupine in New York.

North Carolina

North Carolina prohibits ownership of wild animals, such as porcupines, from being pets.

North Dakota

North Dakota may allow people to own porcupines depending on the city or county since the only prohibited animals are venomous snakes, skunks, and raccoons.


Ohio does not state if they allow porcupines as pets, but they are likely not allowed because they can be deemed dangerous animals due to their quills.


Oklahoma does not specifically prohibit people from owning porcupines, but porcupines are considered regulated wildlife in Oklahoma, so they may not be allowed.


You are allowed to own North American porcupines in Oregon. However, you will need to get a valid Wildlife Holding Permit, and you are allowed a maximum of three per household.


According to this ban list, porcupines of any kind are not allowed to be pets in Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island

You are not allowed to own porcupines based on Rhode Island’s state laws.

South Carolina

It is unclear if South Carolina will allow porcupines as pets, but since porcupines are not listed on the pets allowed to be bought or sold, it is likely not allowed.

South Dakota

You are not allowed to own porcupines in South Dakota since they do not allow people to own free-roaming wildlife. 


Based on Tennessee’s laws, you cannot own a porcupine because possessing any form of wildlife is not permitted.


You can get a porcupine in Texas since they do not require permits or ban animals unless specifically stated, and porcupines are not mentioned in Texas’s animal possession laws.

North American porcupine high on a branch in a tree.


You cannot have a porcupine in Utah since selling or purchasing porcupines is illegal in Utah.


You may not be able to own porcupines in Vermont since they are not listed in their Unrestricted Wild Animal list.


You cannot own porcupines in Virginia because they do not allow non-native exotic animals, and porcupines are not present in Virginia anymore.


Washington prohibits the ownership of wild animals, so you cannot have a porcupine in Washington.

West Virginia

It is possible to own porcupines in West Virginia, but you will need a permit.


Wisconsin allows people to own porcupines without a permit.


You are permitted to own porcupines in Wyoming without getting a permit.

Double Check Your County And City Laws

Even if a state explicitly says that you may own a North American porcupine, it would be best to check in with your local animal welfare departments. They can tell you if you require permits, special equipment, etc. to care for the porcupine.

If you are allowed to own a porcupine in your area, you can read our other article “Where Can I Buy A North American Porcupine.”

Are Pet Porcupines Legal In Canada?

It is prohibited for people to own porcupines in Canada. They have banned other types of rodents as well, such as prairie dogs.

Are Porcupines Legal Pets In Europe?

Porcupines being legal pets in Europe will depend on the country and vary based on local laws.

For instance, the UK allows people to own North American porcupines because they are not considered dangerous wild animals

Another example is France, where you can likely own a porcupine since ownership of nearly every kind of animal is allowed. However, you will have to meet specific conditions, such as getting legal documents.

It is unsure if Germany allows porcupines to be pets since “guinea pigs and other rodents” are listed as part of the allowed pets list. However, it is unlikely that Germany will allow people to own porcupines.

It is illegal to own porcupines in Spain, and you can get fined up to €2 million if you have one!

Are Porcupines Legal Pets In Australia?

Australia does not allow porcupines to be legal pets. Australia also does not have any native porcupines, and importing most kinds of non-native animals like porcupines is illegal.

Why Aren’t Porcupines Legal Pets Everywhere?

North American porcupine sitting among wildflowers.

The main reason why porcupines are not legal pets everywhere is that they do not make ideal pets

They are wild animals and difficult to domesticate. While you can partially train porcupines and they may even show affection to you (especially during feeding time), they are solitary creatures that would prefer to be left alone.

Notably, they can smell pretty bad, which can disrupt neighbors. You can find out more about this by reading our other article, “North American Porcupines And Their Odor.”

They also have quills that fall off or could pierce you while you try to pet them, which can make them dangerous to own.

Is The Porcupine An Invasive Species In Some Places?

If porcupines are not native to a particular country, they can quickly become an invasive species! An invasive species is an animal that does not belong to a given ecosystem. 

When invasive species enter unfamiliar territory, they will out-compete the other animals for resources. They will also populate quickly since they will not have any natural predators in the given area.

As mentioned earlier, Australia does not allow non-native animals to be imported, and that is because some pet owners will release their pets into the wild, which will ruin the ecosystem, especially if they multiply enough.

However, porcupines can be a great help to the ecosystem given that they are within areas they are native to. Porcupines move soil around while foraging, which encourages new plant growth.

Do I Need A Certificate or A Permission To Keep A Porcupine as a Pet?

Certification or permits will be required depending on the state or country you are in along with your city and county’s regulations

For example, some American states will allow North American porcupines to be pets, such as states like Wisconsin and Wyoming. However, other states like Florida will probably require permits before you own a porcupine.

Are Other Kinds Of Porcupines Legal As Pets?

Three North American porcupines on a large tree branch.

Other types of porcupines can be legal to own as pets, but it will depend on where you live and the given laws in your area.

The North American porcupine is one of the most popular ones to own, especially since it is already native throughout most states in the United States. 

Some examples of porcupines that can be legal to own as pets are:

  • African crested porcupines 
  • Prehensile-tailed porcupines 
  • Brazilian porcupines

Usually, if a porcupine is native to a specific area, you may be able to own it. Of course, this is if you are allowed to own wildlife in your area in the first place!

As such, many states in the United States allow people to own North American porcupines since the species is already present in the ecosystem. Additionally, the North American porcupine is not considered a threatened or endangered species.

Author: Allison Marie Dinglasan

Hello! I am Allison, an avid writer for 6 years with a deep interest in animals since I was a child. I grew up on Animal Planet and animal books and often did rescue work for stray and sickly cats, dogs, and birds in my area, which led to over 60 rescues. My future goal is to be a veterinarian to have a more hands-on approach to helping and learning about animals!

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