Popularity spikes for Japanese hedgehog café

(Reuters)
(Reuters)

Business is booming for Japan's latest animal café. But it's not cats, or dogs, that customers can come in to cuddle -- it's hedgehogs.

Since the café, located in the entertainment district of Roppongi, opened in February, its popularity has spiked.

Mizuki Murata, who works in both the hedgehog café and a rabit café located in the same building, told Reuters it's so popular customers often have to queue.

She says part of the appeal of the café is changing the public perception of the spiky creatures.

Popularity spikes for Japanese hedgehog café

(Reuters)

"We wanted to show people the charm of hedgehogs, which give the impression of being hard to handle," she said.

"We wanted to get rid of that image by letting people touch them."

Around 20 to 30 hedgehogs are at the café, called 'Harry' -- a play on the animal's name in Japanese, harinezumi.

For a mere 1000 yen (NZ$13) on weekdays or 1300 yen (NZ$17) on holidays, you can spend an hour gently caressing and playing with a hedgehog.

Popularity spikes for Japanese hedgehog café

(Reuters)

According to Ms Murata, one of the best moments of snuggling with the animal is when it unfurls.

"The cutest thing about hedgehogs is getting them to finally open up and show you their face."

While in New Zealand our common hedgehogs tend to eat our vege gardens, in Japan they're more common as pets.

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