hedgehogOregon Zoo in the USA is welcoming five hedgehogs to their family.

Mum Hakuna Matata gave birth to the litter on the 7th of July. These hoglets currently weigh just one tenth of a pound and can curl up to be the size of a doughnut hole.

These guys are not your first guess for African predator says keeper Tanya Paul who cares for the education animals, ‘When we think of African predators, we often think of lions and cheetahs and painted dogs.’ These guys are predators as well though, ‘But African pygmy hedgehogs are a great example of a smaller predator that is also important.

These animals are also good for those who are scared of bugs she said, ‘They are insectivores, so they help keep bug populations down. They can also tolerate a fair amount of toxins in their diet, and sometimes will even feast on scorpions,’ said Paul.’

Porcupines have quills which are actually modified hairs and these fall out throughout their life and then grow back. Mum has mostly white spines and black eyes which are a trait two of the hoglets have taken on. The three boys are dark grey like father, Burundi.

Currently keepers are working at getting the babies available for viewing. This will not be possible though till they are weaned at 6 weeks of age. The zoos adult hedgehogs are currently viewable at the Family farm exhibit between 9am and 3.30pm ‘Hedgehogs permitting.’

Though these hedgehogs may look cute but Paul says people should think twice before purchasing one as a pet. Paul said, ‘They’re very difficult to care for because of their diet and the need for special veterinary care.’ Vets are also difficult to find as she said, ‘Many vets don’t specialize in treating exotic animals like a hedgehog.’

Photo Credit: Oregon Zoo

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