Not all pets are created equal. Some animals are just plain illegal to keep in your home in the U.S., no matter how cool they may look.

Big eyes. Cute noses. Eccentric character traits. They’re amongst the many reasons why people form a (sometimes) unbreakable bond with an animal. Despite their outward inviting appearances some creatures are seen as extremely unwanted residents in homes in certain states across America, and not always for the reasons you might expect.

Take for example the sugar glider, a rodent-looking nocturnal marsupial that is usually found in Australia and Indonesia. Although small in size, sugar gliders can be very vocal and energetic sprites that need a large cage to call their home. They will take to the air if space allows (hence the ‘glider’ part of their name), and that’s one of the reasons why some states don’t want anything to do with them: their ability to adversely affect a region’s natural ecosystem should one make it out to the wild.

They are also what some people would call a ‘trend’ pet – their appearance gets them adopted, but the difficulty in keeping them happy and healthy in captivity often leads to them being abandoned by their owners.

Hedgehogs are viewed in much the same light as sugar gliders in some states, with Georgia, Hawaii and California declaring an outward ban on owning them. These animals have a fairly visible presence on social media, which often leads to hedgehog owners in one state that allows them as pets publicly questioning why other states have made them illegal.

The major concerns center around a hedgehog’s unwanted ability to carry foot-and-mouth disease along with salmonella, conditions that can be passed on to humans. Along with that is the worry that a released hedgehog, whether its been freed after a failed dalliance as a child’s pet or has escaped from its adopted home, could damage the natural habitat it suddenly finds itself in.

Sugar gliders and hedgehogs might seem a lot less dangerous than big cats or lions (and we’re pretty sure you’re at no risk of them biting your head off), but check first to make sure they’re allowed as pets where you live before adopting one. And is as always the case with exotic pets, deal only with a responsible breeder.

Story by Jay Moon