Penelope is seven months old, which makes her a grown up in hedgehog years.
You usually have to buy a hedgehog from a special breeder, but Mrs. Hering got Penelope from someone whose hedgehog had babies.
Penelope is an African Pygmy Hedgehog, the only kind of domesticated (kept as a pet) hedgehog. Her breed is a hybrid (mix) of two North African hedgehog breeds. She would not be able to survive in the wild & Mrs. Hering has to take special care so that Penelope doesn't try to hibernate in the winter. Wild hedgehogs are found in Europe & Africa.
Hedgehogs are prey animals and Penelope uses her defense mechanisms to protect herself from predators. When she feels threatened, she tightens the strong muscle which runs from her head to her tail to get into a tight ball. If she still feels threatened, she'll pop, click, & his to scare others away.
When Penelope is relaxed, she lays her quills down and is quiet. She might explore or sleep. When she's REALLY relaxed, she lays flat on her belly and sticks all four legs out.
Believe it or not, the main food Penelope eats is cat food! She also likes to eat bell peppers, eggs, meat & sweet potatoes. Her absolute favorite thing to eat, though, is meal worms.