For about a decade I had ferrets as pets, so I know what it's like to have an unusual animal companion. But apparently ferrets are nothing compared to the newest trend.

It appears hedgehogs (yes, hedgehogs) are steadily growing in popularity across the United States as pets. I would have thought it might be the case during the 1990s at the height of Sonic the Hedgehog's popularity, but no, it's happening now.

According to ABC News:

Breeders say the trend is partly fueled by the fact that hedgehogs require less maintenance than dogs and cats, and because they emit little odor — in sharp contrast with rodents and rabbits. They are largely hypoallergenic and are solitary, making them ideal for those with a busy lifestyle.

"A hedgehog can hang out all day while you are at work, you can come home, hang out with it for a couple of hours or  you know, put it away," said Massachusetts-based hedgehog breeder Jennifer Crespo.

That's actually a similar assumption many new ferret owners make. Some think ferrets can stay in the cage all day without exercise or interaction. Not true! Ferrets need time to play and explore. Hedgehogs seem less reliant on humans for their entertainment.

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

The increase in hedgehog popularity comes despite laws in at least six states banning or restricting them as pets. Reasons range from being a nonnative species to concerns that they could set up a wild population. Hedgehogs can also shed the salmonella bacterium, which represents a health risk to young children and older people with weakened immune systems.

Meanwhile, in perhaps his only move I agree with so far, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has opened the door to ending to the city's ban on owning ferrets, which dates to 1959. No word on where the city stands on hedgehogs.