The popularity of the hedgehog — a small, spiny-looking mammal in the insectivore family — appears to be increasing. When they are handled often and socialized, hedgehogs can make adorable, loving pets who can learn to recognize and bond closely with their owners. At first, it may be easiest to handle your hedgehog with a towel (as we do in the video below) to protect your hands from his sharp spines. Once he gets used to being held, a towel may not be necessary.

But hedgehogs are not right for everyone; they need to be cared for appropriately. Before you consider bringing home a hedgehog, here’s what Dr. Laurie Hess says you need to know about this unique creature.

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