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Photo of the Week: Cholla the Hedgehog

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He will watch the groundhog on Saturday to see if we have six more weeks of winter.

Hedgehog

Posted January 30, 2013. Photo by Amy Landers/ABQ BioPark.

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

We know Candlemas (the European “feast of lights”) better as Groundhog Day, celebrated every year on February 2. Ground-dwelling animals, like hedgehogs, are part of the Candlemas tradition of predicting weather. In America, the famous groundhog ‘Punxsutawney Phil’ helps forecast the end of winter.

Rain or shine, Cholla the hedgehog comes out for the BioPark’s Zoo to You program. At just one-and-a-half years old, Cholla has already met thousands of kids across New Mexico. Zoo to You visits schools and communities to teach how our actions matter when it comes to protecting wildlife.

Cholla is an African hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris). Hedgehogs can also be found in Europe and Asia. While sleeping, they curl into a prickly ball to deter predators. When they wake, hedgehogs make pig-like grunts as they search for insects, worms, snails and other food.

Have you ever met a hedgehog? Tell us and join the conversation on Facebook.

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