Cue squeals of delight now: the latest social media obsession with palm-sized hedgehogs has landed in Tokyo, with the opening of a new hedgehog café.
Over the last few years, the latest pet craze has spawned many a viral video of hedgehogs being cradled belly-up in the palm of the hand, their pink feet in the air; hedgehogs getting their belly scrubbed; and hedgehogs sitting in a croissant pillow.
Unlike other animal cafés, where guests are often asked to keep their hands to themselves, visitors of the ChikuChiku Café are invited to cradle the animals, feed them and take photos and selfies with the spiny, Instagram-friendly mammals.
The café claims that the animals have been trained for human interaction.
Residents of the café are housed in dollhouse accommodations, hand-crafted by local artisans. Along with the main house in the center of the café, visitors can interact with hedgehogs in individual, transparent units placed along pastel-colored walls.
In the bathroom, the hedgehog-in-residence can be found reclining in a ludicrously cute mini bathtub.
The mini classroom features a chalkboard, desk and chairs, while the bedroom is accessorized by a hedgehog-sized bed, and the living room a pastel blue armchair.
Animal handlers do warn visitors that should you catch a hedgehog in a bad mood, they will bite. Visitors are also asked to refrain from using their flash, or making sudden movements while handling the animals.
Given the popularity of animal cafes in Tokyo, it was only a matter of time.
Hedgehogs join a long list of animal-themed hotspots in the Japanese capital, which range from the generic cats and dogs to owls, rabbits, snakes and goat cafes. JB