‘Tiny but spiny:’ Adorable baby hedgehogs born at Oregon Zoo

An African pygmy hedgehog gave birth to five little hoglets at the Oregon Zoo.

The tiny, spiny hoglets weigh just a tenth of a pound each, and when curled up in a ball they are about the size of a doughnut hole. Zookeepers think three of the hoglets are males and two females, but they can’t be sure until they complete exams.

“Two of the hoglets resemble their mother, Hakuna Matata. She is a black-eyed cinnicot with mostly white spines. The other three take after their father, Burundi, who is a dark gray,” said Oregon Zoo spokesman Hova Najarian.

Their animals’ quills are actually modified hairs, which fall out and grow back throughout their lives.

“When we think of African predators, we often think of lions and cheetahs and painted dogs,” said Tanya Paul, who supervises the zoo’s education program animals. “But African pygmy hedgehogs are a great example of a smaller predator that is also important. 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.”

Zoo visitors will be able to get a peek of the baby hoglets once they’re about six weeks old and have been weaned. They were born July 7.

For now, fans can watch video of the hoglets or see some of the zoo’s adult hedgehogs at the Family Farm exhibit, between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., on most days.

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