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This adorable little creature is an African Pygmy Hedgehog of the Family Erinaceidae. I thought at first it was a baby Mexican Tree Porcupine, but Hedgehogs are not related to the Porcupines and do not occur naturally in the Americas. It took me a while to find what it was. They are now bred and sold as pets all over the world.
This one was being held by his owner in a park and was attracting interest and awe from everyone. When frightened he would puff the spines on his forehead forward over his face. They can tuck themselves up into a little ball with all the spines pointing outwards. They will even float on their backs in water!
The spines of this species are blunt. They are actually hollow hairs that are coated in keratin to make them hard. They cannot "shoot" them at anything and the spines do not fall out easily as in Porcupines. The adults reach about 20 cm in length and 0.5 to 0.7 kilos. They are practically omnivores, eating mainly insects but also fruits, leaves and meat. They have 4 toes on the back feet and 5 toes on the front feet. This pygmy hedgehog has a unique behavior of "self-anointing"; which occurs when the hedgehog discovers a unique scent or taste – he will react by creating a frothy type of saliva that he proceeds to spread across his body during a series of amazing contortions. No one is sure if it self-anoints in preparation for mate selection or in self defense. The hedgehog's back is made up of two large muscles, which control the positioning of its quills. There are about 5,000 to 6,500 quills on the average hedgehog, and these are durable on the outside, while being filled with air pockets on the inside. They are also very vocal making a wide range of grunts, chirps and growls. http://www.factzoo.com/mammals/african-p.... htmlhttp://hebhogs.wordpress.com/about/