Why does that desert hedgehog have such long legs??
Because that’s what hedgehog legs actually look like!
Hedgehogs, on first glance, might appear as round prickly avocados but they’re actually round prickly avocados on tall sticks. They’re just real good at hiding those runway model legs under a skirt of quills and fur!
If we look at the skeleton of (in this case an European) hedgehog we can see they actually have longer legs than one might expect:
And this is the skeleton of an African pygmy hedgehog, the most commonly kept species in captivity:
Some species have slightly longer legs than others but the two skeletons (especially the last one) have been prepped in the hedgehog’s signature stance, which is basically sorta crouching with their hind feet all the way on the ground. This is also their resting position and the pose people are probably most familiar with.
Now, imagine what happens when they stand upright:
(The one above is a young one, so it will grow into its legs a bit more)
LEGS FOR DAYS
As you’ve probably already noticed, most hedgehogs will switch to Tall Leg Mode when they’re running (hedgehog owners will know this as this is what hogs do when running on their wheels). A slower walk tends to be lower to the ground, especially when relaxed – or when threatened with no way to run, as it will offer more underbelly protection.
Another reason people might not know how long hedgehog legs really are is because a lot of pet hedgehogs are overweight. The third image I posted here (not counting the skeletons) is a wild African pygmy hedgehog. How many pet hedgehogs have you seen with that body shape? Yet that’s what they are supposed to look like.
When a hedgehog gets overweight one of the first symptoms is fat “hanging” behind the front legs – it’s basically hiding the legs in rolls of fat. This is what my Týr looked like when I adopted him:
And this is the same hedgehog after weight loss – even in relaxed “sitting” position, you can clearly see the difference:
In the wild, hedgehogs can run miles a night in search for food. Especially desert species which often live in areas where food is sparse.
Also, don’t forget:
it’s called Sonic the hedgehog for a reason.