These 8 baby hedgehogs (or hoglets) lost their mother in a tragic lawn mowing accident. Just being newborns, the hoglets desperately needed milk and some maternal care. But luckily, the babies found a foster mom in Musya, a cat at the Sadgorod Zoo in Vladivostok, Russia.
Before being taken in by Musya, the zoo was trying to feed the babies with bottles, syringes and saucers. But they refused to drink and were beginning to starve. So the zoo tried to match them up with another mammal. The baby hedgehogs took to Musya immediately. Biologists think that the pairing worked because of the cat’s body warmth and the smell of milk that the cat was producing, which matched the hoglets’ mother.
Prior to the baby hedgehogs, Musya had taken in foster kittens. She not only fed the hedgehogs but took care of them at night as well. After a week of this, the hoglets started eating on their own. Musya still kept an eye on them as they grew,
It’s true what they say: opposites attract.
As amazing as this story sounds, it wasn’t the first time such a cute feat has happened. It wasn’t even the first time that a cat has adopted hedgehogs. In fact, it isn’t even the first time a cat has adopted hedgehogs in Russia.
In 2012, another cat, Sonya, took in 4 similarly orphaned hedgehogs. While Sonya was only taking in half as many as Musya, she still had her hands full, as Sonya had recently given birth to a kitten of her own. Luckily, Sonya’s kitten and the hoglets got along well, becoming friends and sharing playtime with their mother. From the photos posted, it’s amazing to see that different animals can cuddle up so cozily, not least because of the spiky nature of hedgehogs.
It isn’t just cats adopting hedgehogs either Amazing adoption stories in the animal kingdom are more common than you’d think. For example, a gorilla living in San Francisco named Koko got a kitten. Reportedly, she was unsatisfied with stuffed toys, so the zoo owners wanted to see if she would take in a live animal. Incredibly, Koko didn’t just take the kitten in as a pet, she also tried to nurse it and constantly looked after the baby.
In even more incredible circumstances, a baby hippopotamus amed Owen was taken in by a giant tortoise, after the hippo lost his parents in the 2004 tsunami. Owen went to a nature park in Kenya, where he would hopefully survive. However, he was incredibly frightened, until he met Mzee, the tortoise. Mzee was 130 years old when he met Owen, but his advanced age didn’t stop him from taking the hippo under his wing. They spent years together, until Owen grew up and became more independent before heading to a new area of the park. Basically, this was the animal kingdom equivalent of moving out.
As you can see from these amazing stories, some animals have a much stronger capacity for empathy than you may have thought. Biologists continue to observe interspecies adoptions on a regular basis, meaning that thousands more of these events must have happened throughout history.