Meet Spike! Adventure Aquarium’s new African Pygmy Hedgehog

By: Jamie Hogan, Biologist

spike1.1Hi, my name is Spike! I’m the new African Pygmy Hedgehog here at Adventure Aquarium.

Spike2.1

Currently I am 3.5 months old and weigh about 10 ounces. Typically the lifespan for my species in the wild is 2-3 years and in zoos and aquariums is 8-10 years. On average we are about 18-25 ounces and 6-8 inches in length with the females being slightly larger than us males.

My role here at the aquarium will be doing Up-closes and entertaining guests while the biologists inform them about me. Right now I’m a little scared to be in front of so many people but I’ve been doing training sessions with the biologists to help me get ready.

Spike3.1When scared we will roll up in a ball, covering our feet and faces with our spines for protection. If harassed further, we will twitch in the direction of the predator trying to jab it with our spines. We will make snuffling or grunting vocalizations as well.

Spike4.1

My wild friends can be found living in south Saharan African countries in semi-arid areas and dry savannas. They like to hide under logs, rocks and in burrows. My favorite place to hide at the Aquarium is under my blankets and towels!

 
Spike5.1African Pygmy Hedgehogs are not very picky eaters. In the wild we’ll eat worms, snails, frogs, lizards, snakes, eggs, nestling birds, fruits, seeds, and roots just to name a few! My diet consists of a specially formulated hedgehog diet, insectivore diet, mealworms, wax worms and a few pieces of fresh produce. I just love the wax worms!

In the wild we have to worry about predators such as owls, honey badgers, jackals and wild dogs. Lucky for us though there is a stable wild population so we have no particular conservation status. Additionally due to the popular pet trade, collecting from the wild is no longer allowed.

Thanks for meeting me and I hope to see you when I’m out on the Up-Close Stage in the future.

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