Can you stand the cuteness? Ball pit enrichment with Adventure Aquarium’s pygmy hedgehog Spike

By: Jamie Hogan

Spike, our African pygmy hedgehog, is now almost one and a half years old and having a ball at Adventure Aquarium!

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Since his introduction here about a year ago he is doing great and enjoying his weekly up-closes with the guests. When hedgehogs are scared they will curl up and hide their faces and feet with their spines for defense. Over the past year Spike has gotten much better with his up-closes and is usually very active and no longer hiding behind his spines! Another milestone is that although Spike is small, only 6-8 inches long, he is already a full grown hedgehog.

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In addition to up-closes, enrichment plays a large role in Spike’s life at the aquarium. Every day he is given a new toy or house, a treat, something new to burrow under or anything else new or different to keep him stimulated and thinking. One of the enrichments given to Spike is playtime in a ball pit. African pygmy hedgehogs are nocturnal and like to burrow under termite mounds and logs during the day to sleep, so having a ball pit to play in is a fun way to recreate that natural behavior. Another way to use Spike’s ball pit for enrichment is to place some bugs, his favorite snack, in it so he can forage for his food like his wild cousins. This also encourages natural behaviors for him. Spike enjoys all the enrichment he’s given and looks especially cute when playing in his ball pit. 

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