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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  15 years of small animal veterinary medicine
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What animal looks like hedgehog and resides in USA?

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What is an animal that looks like a hedgehog and resides in the USA?

Driving back from Minnesota this past week, I saw 6 of these animals (or looked to me like one) that had been killed on the roadway. They looked exactly like a hedgehog, short quills, sharp pointed nose, and sharp claws (definitely not a porcupine) and mostly grey in color. They varied in size, a couple chipmunk size, and some that were about the size of a grown squirrel (minus the tail). The reason for my question is that I realize that Hedgehogs do not normally range in the Americas, . . . Perhaps a pet that got loose, but six of them in different locations doesn't make sense. So I am stumped as to what critter this might have been.

What state did you see these animals in? Did you get out to look at them more closely?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Two of them were in Minnesota, south of Minneapolis and the others were in South Dakota, between Sioux Falls and Mitchell. The second one I slowed down and took a good look, which I described earlier. Unfortunately, I did not get out and look.
All were hit by the road? Were they distorted by being hit? Did you see them in the light?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

All were road kill, assuming they were killed by a passing vehicle. Now that you mention it, I do not recall seeing them badly damaged. Some slight blood seen, but all the bodies were in tact. All of them were seen in the daylight. In the early hours of the morning.

Are you sure they had quills? Sharp claws? How good of a look did you get?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I am positive they had a short quills all over the top of their head and back, similar to a porcupine. I call them quills, as they looked like them except much shorter and the tips were white in color. I would guess that they were from three to five inches long. The claws were not very long, I would guess maybe an inch to an inch and a half.

Going through all the animals that I'm familiar with, from what you're describing - the american porcupine is the closet thing that I can picture. They can vary in size and quill color. I'm curious that the ones you were seeing were very young ones. They can have lighter quills and fit that size that you're describing. Also, the young are the most non-highway wise and typically are the ones that get hit. The frustrating thing is that their home range isn't typically considered to be in South Dakota. It would be very helpful if you had a picture of one of them. If you see any more, can you take a picture and post it for me to see?

Dr. Bruce and 2 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thank you very much!! It makes sense to me that they were young porcupines. I appreciate your time and efforts!! And I will take you advise and photograph them in the future.

I hate to say this.... But I hope you don't get any pictures of ones by the road that have been hit. Hopefully they'll stay away from that scenario. I'd like you to see them in the wild along a creek or timber line or something else. :)