A fun post today.

One of the stipulations of our Naturalist employee contract forbids pets of furry nature — a perfectly reasonable request, especially considering the fact that we all share a house. Imagine the fur and dander if we all had a cat or dog; imagine how cramped the quarters would be. We already have difficulty getting rid of the pluff mud smell. If we added pet stench to that, we’d scarcely be allowed in public.

We are Naturalists, though, and we love critters. Many of the staff members, therefore, have found their way around the no-furry-pets clause: their pets don’t have fur.

Our staff house is crowded: it’s home to thirteen Naturalists and two interns as well as a bearded dragon, two lizards, a snake, and two hedgehogs.

Raphael (aka “Raph”) is Selimah’s hedgehog; he’s a sweetheart who likes baths and snuggling.

Russell and Petunia are lizards who live in Charlotte’s room. Russell is inquisitive and serves as a great conversation starter; Petunia is relatively new to captivity and is still adjusting to having a roommate.

DJ Russell

Diggle the Hedgehog (aka “Diggs”) is the most recent addition to the BI staff house. Kayla adopted him about two months ago.

12825747_913016045478602_147251229_nKayla hails from Charlotte, NC. She graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in Biology, and immediately after graduating, she traveled Southeast Asia for a year of student ministry.

Kayla found Diggle on a Craig’s List listing; she adopted him from a lady who had an excess of pets and not enough energy to care for all of them.

Diggle was ornery and irritable during his first few weeks here, but he’s already begun to warm up. We suspect that he wasn’t cared for very lovingly in his former home and had to put up some psychological walls.

Diggs used to hiss and twitch when we even attempted to hold him; he’ll now sit placidly in Kayla’s lap as long as he’s snuggled into his favorite blanket.

Diggle's "no, thank you" face.

Diggle’s “no, thank you” face.


“He hated people when I first got him,” Kayla says. “But now he sometimes tolerates them.”

Diggle likes running on his wheel and eating cat food. He also seems to enjoy trying to fit into small spaces and, consequently, often gets himself stuck.

Kayla made Diggs an Instagram account — his handle is @digglethehedgie. He quickly became internet famous. Within weeks, he had over a hundred followers. He currently has 127.