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 Honolulu Zoo welcomes new hedgehog

Petunia, the female African pygmy hedgehog.

HONOLULU – The Honolulu Zoo recently received a female African pygmy hedgehog through the Hawai‘i State Department of Agriculture’s amnesty program.

African pygmy hedgehogs, also known as four-toed hedgehogs, live in the wild in Africa. They weigh between one to two pounds and have become very popular as pets and are commonly bred and sold as pets in the U.S. mainland. They are about the size of a guinea pig and their bodies are covered with approximately 6,000 short quills. Hedgehogs can control the orientation of its spines but cannot “shoot” its spines at predators. When a hedgehog is calm, the spines will lie flat against its back and sides, but when threatened, it will roll into a ball with its spines pointing out for protection. 

Hedgehogs are omnivores and in addition to fruits, insects and vegetables, their high resistance to many naturally occurring toxins allows them to prey on animals like snakes, scorpions and toads, which many other animals can’t.

“We welcome having a hedgehog in our zoo so keiki will be able to see what it looks like since they are not found in Hawai‘i,” said Linda Santos, zoo director. “Petunia will be a nice addition to our Keiki Zoo where she will be housed on exhibit.”

Hedgehogs are illegal to own as pets in Hawai‘i as they could threaten native species if released into the wild. 


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