If you thought hedgehogs weren't exactly cuddly, these enchanting pictures should change your mind.
They show the latest must-have mini-pet, the African pygmy hedgehog.
These ones are still babies --small enough to fit neatly in the palm of a hand, or even an egg cup or serving spoon. Fully grown, they weigh 12 to 18oz and are 5-8in long.
Hard-boiled hog: This fully-grown, yet tiny, pygmy hedgehog only comes out to play at night
Hailing from Egypt originally, pygmy hedgehogs live on cat food and chicken. Because they're bred in captivity, they enjoy being handled.
While they may be smaller than their wild cousins, they have a sizeable price tag - up to £200 each.
Animal lover Ashleigh Hunt, 20, currently has two dozen baby African Pygmy Hedgehogs, which fit neatly into the palm of a hand and are Britain's latest must-have mini-pet.
The cute creatures have now taken over Ashleigh's house and keep appearing in the most unusual of places - from tea pots, to the bathroom and kitchen cupboards.
Prickly pets: Ashleigh Hunt cuddles her array of pygmy hedgehogs, which can sell for up to £200 each
Ashleigh was given her first three hogs 18 months ago by a friend who told her they make fantastic pets.
She has since been given another seven and overseen the birth of a further 14 of the prickly creatures at her home in Flore, Northamptonshire.
Ashleigh, who has eight females and 16 males all between the age of three weeks and 18 months, has also sold a further ten of the baby hogs to breeders and pet lovers.
Fangs a lot: One of the cute pygmy hedgehogs mugs for the camera
The tiny mammals, which are nocturnal and 'come out to play' at night, sleep together in seven cages but are free to roam the house when they are awake.
Ashleigh said she was expecting the arrival of another three baby hedgehogs any day now.
She said: 'I look after mine really well but they do have a habit of escaping and running round the house - they are very fast and appear in the strangest places.
Serving up: Tiny hedgehog can fit easily on a table spoon
'I have found them in cupboards, snuggled up in my bed, and they even line up and watch the television with me at night.
'They are extremely rewarding pets if you look after them properly and will happily fall asleep in the palm of your hand once they trust you.'
Ashleigh also said many breeders were now trading the creatures, which come in a spectrum of colours from pale white to dark brown, to create colours such as cinnamon.
She said: 'Many of the professional breeders are using the internet to swap the hedgehogs like Pokemon cards.
'The idea is that they can breed different colours together to produce a huge amount of different coloured hedgehogs which widen the hedgehog gene pool.'
The pygmy hedgehogs originate from Egypt and are sold in specialist pet shops across the UK after becoming popular with pet owners in US in the '90s.
They are a quarter of the size of a wild hedgehog and live on a diet of cat or ferret food but unlike their wild cousins are raised in captivity and do not have fleas.
Normally the cost of their food would spiral into hundreds of pounds every year but Ashleigh gets a discount from her parents who own a local pet store.
The hedgehogs can be trained to use a litter tray but owners must remember that they are lactose intolerant and cannot eat or drink dairy products.
An RSPCA spokeswoman said they had seen a 'huge rise' in the number of pygmy hedgehogs in the UK.
She said: 'They are becoming more and more popular and although there are not many shops selling them we know there is a great demand for them across the country.'
There are 17 species of hedgehog across the world and they were first domesticated by the Romans who kept them as pets in the 4th Century BC.
In the wild a hedgehog is opportunistic and will eat just about anything but most live on a diet of insects and slugs.
They can be bought from exotic pet shops and private breeders. But be warned: there is already a lengthy waiting list.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1218989/24-pygmy-hedgehogs-adopted-animal-lover.html#ixzz0TOnnLhVN