A caring cat named Sonya plays surrogate mother to an adorable litter of orphaned hedgehogs.
Sonya, the ginger cat from central Russia, only had one kitten of her own meaning there was plenty of milk to spare, so she readily adopted the four baby hedgehogs into the family.
She treats them, exactly as if they were her own, allowing them to suckle to their hearts content and then snuggle up to sleep in her fur when they’re full.
It is common practice for abandoned animal babies to be placed with surrogate mother’s of the same species to avoid re-abandonment at a later date – but sometime a mother of the same species just isn’t available.
There are cases of cats adopting rabbits, racoons, squirrels and even, in the case of a cat named Smaigel from Jordan – puppies as their own children, but this is the first time we’ve heard of one adopting hedgehogs.
Mother dogs, in particular, are well known for taking on all sorts of unruly youngsters including lions and tigers.
As the milk from mammals is very similar, it is a better option than bottle feeding. The youngsters are provided with all what they need, and suckling means they are less likely to be rejected in later life.
One of the weirdest cases of animal adoption is that of Sai Mai The Tiger from Thailand’s Sriracha Tiger Zoo who adopted and a group of orphaned piglets.
And perhaps one of the most heartwarming is that of Owen the baby Hippopotamus who was rescued after being swept into the Indian Ocean in the 2005 tsunami and adopted a giant male Aldabran tortoise as his “mother”.