The National Wildlife Federation

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What Is This?

A cone? A bush?

  • NWF Staff
  • Aug 01, 2004
 
Photo: © M.C. CHAMBERLAIN (DRK)

WHAT IS THIS? It's a four-toed hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris) rolled up in a tight, spiky ball. The mammal has a unique muscle, called the orbicularis panniculi, that allows it to strike this protective pose. When disturbed, frightened or preparing for sleep, the hedgehog draws the edges of its spiny coat together like a drawstring purse, with its face, belly and legs—all body parts lacking protective quills—tucked inside.

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