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Thompson Park Zoo unveils new hedgehog (VIDEO)

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If you were to approach Hannah, the new African pygmy hedgehog at the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park, you might find the 3-month-old could employ her natural instinct to hide from predators and curl up in a ball.

However, that shyness does not last for long.

“Once she realizes you’re OK, she will not stand still,” said Joli Reynolds, the zoo’s education director. “She’s wiggly.”

The zoo was recently donated the hedgehog by a private breeder in the Rochester area. After a 30-day quarantine period at the zoo, Hannah made her first public appearances late last week.

The hedgehog will be used for small events, such as school appearances, educational camps and birthday parties at the zoo.

On Monday afternoon, Hannah was taken out on the grass outside the zoo’s administrative office for the first time, relishing the opportunity to quickly scurry around or inspect Mrs. Reynolds’s sneakers and pants legs.

“I think she’s enjoying it,” Mrs. Reynolds said.

The species is native to southern Africa, in grasslands and savannahs. The animal primarily eats bugs, with its diet also including mealworms and crickets, and special formulized meals. At less than a foot in length, the hedgehog’s size could be compared to a guinea pig.

Mrs. Reynolds said Hannah had a pinto coloring, a rare pattern that meant she had spots of all-white quills among her multicolored exterior.

In captivity, she said, Hannah could have a lifespan of more than a decade.

Hannah replaces Malachi, the zoo’s previous hedgehog, who died this summer of natural causes.

Video of the hedgehog can be seen at http://wdt.me/hedgehog.

Hannah the hedgehog
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