Traditional & Culture

The Mysterious Case of the Hedgehog in Kuragaike Park Zoo

There’s something a little off about this hedgehog. It just makes us… bristle.

Take a moment to imagine the scene of the crime: it’s a cold winter morning, and you’re exploring Kuragaike Park Zoo, a small local zoo in the city of Toyota, Aichi Prefecture. You’ve seen some colorful peacocks, and walked past the pen holding a herd of white goats, and you’re ready to see the zoo’s adorable four-toed hedgehog.

But what’s this? The hedgehog is gone, nowhere to be seen, and in its place is… a bristle brush!

That’s what Twitter user Po (@popoyo_pyn) was met with when they visited the zoo in early March, and their subsequent tweet (simply “I saw a brush”) found some serious popularity on the social media platform, nearing 80,000 retweets and getting more than four times as many likes. Po went to see an adorable African hedgehog, and was instead presented with a brush of approximately the same size and shape. But something about the whole scene inspired mirth instead of frustration, and Po even went back and replied to the post, later commenting “…this zoo is free, by the way. But even if I had paid to enter, I think I would have just cracked up at this sign instead of getting annoyed.”

But why has the hedgehog transformed into a brush?

It’s cold, so the hedgehog enclosure is closed for now. Instead of a hedgehog, we’re displaying a very similar-looking brush. Please come back again when the weather is warmer.
It turns out that the chilly winters of Japan’s Aichi Prefecture are just a little too much for the zoo’s adorable African hedgehog (above), who can’t maintain a warm enough body temperature. Instead, during the winter months, the hog spends its time in a warm indoor enclosure away from prying eyes! Instead of leaving the normal enclosure completely empty while the weather is cold, a couple of the zoo’s zookeepers decided that the brush would apparently be a suitable substitute, and wrote the charming accompanying sign to let visitors know that the hedgehog would return with the warm weather.

The mystery of the Kuragaike Park Zoo hedgehog has officially been solved! Case closed!

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