France's animal protection society says it's filed a lawsuit against three men arrested last month in a northwestern Paris suburb for illegally hunting hedgehogs to eat.

Tamara Guelton of the Animal Protection Society says they were contacted by police after the arrest of several men in a Cergy-Pontoise forest mid-August, after they collected hedgehogs in plastic bags to cook.

She said Tuesday that some "traveling communities" in France like to use the nocturnal mammals for hedgehog soup, despite their runny snout and "spiny appearance."

The society say hunting hedgehogs is like hunting whales, since the species has been nearly wiped out in France by pesticides.

Hunting hedgehogs is illegal in France, with a maximum six-month prison sentence.