PORTLAND — Altogether, the Oregon Zoo’s five newest additions have a combined weight of only about half a pound.
Five African pygmy hedgehog babies were born at the Oregon Zoo on July 7, KPTV reported. This week, zoo workers were able to get a closer look at the prickly 3-week-old hoglets.
While keepers aren’t positive yet, they believe the litter includes three boys and two girls.
Two of the hoglets resemble their mother, Hakuna Matata, with black eyes and mostly white spines. The other three take after their father, Burundi, a dark gray hedgehog.
Their quills are actually modified hairs that fall out and grow back throughout their lives.
When the hoglets are curled up in a ball, they are currently about the size of a doughnut hole.
Tanya Paul, supervisor of the zoo’s education program animals, said while they may not be as large as the more well-known African predators like lions and cheetahs, hedgehogs are an important smaller predator.
“They are insectivores, so they help keep bug populations down,” she said. “They can also tolerate a fair amount of toxins in their diet, and sometimes will even feast on scorpions.”
The baby hedgehogs are not yet ready to be seen by zoo visitors. Zoo staff is working to make them viewable after they are about 6 weeks old and have been weaned.
Adult hedgehogs at the zoo can be seen most days at the Family Farm exhibit.
Zoo experts said due to their diet and need for specialized veterinary care, hedgehogs do not make good pets.