Go the the Museum, Visit with a Live Hedgehog

These comfortable critters are part of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Live Animal Encounters program.

photos by Baidi Wang


There are good surprises and bad surprises. But few surprises equal the moment when someone reaches behind a desk and produces a small hedgehog.

It’s a delight that you can experience daily at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, as part of its Live Animal Encounters program. Mallory Vopal runs the museum’s living collection, which has been in place for more than three years; the encounters debuted this summer.

“A lot of other natural-history museums across the country have a live-animal component to their educational program,” Vopal says. “Our animals all go out for programming … they go to community festivals, libraries, nursing homes, schools.”


If you want to visit these comfortable critters, you’ll have to buy a ticket to the encounter ($2 in addition to your museum admission); in addition to the aforementioned hedgehog (whose name is Quilliam Penn), the collection includes such animals as snakes, a (de-stinkified) skunk, tortoises, a chinchilla, an American alligator and … a blue-tongued skink.

What’s a blue-tongued skink? You’ll have to stop by the museum to find out.


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