A total of five previously unknown varieties of hedgehogs with soft fur have been found in south-east Asia.

There are currently a total of seven known species of soft-furred hedgehogs, which resemble a combination of a mouse and a shrew.
Scientists have identified an additional five species of soft-furred hedgehogs found in south-east Asia.
Out of these five species, two are completely new discoveries while three have been upgraded from subspecies status through DNA analysis and detailed physical observations.
The research involved the examination of physical specimens and tissue samples collected from field work and museum collections spanning several decades.
Prior to this study, only two species of soft-furred hedgehogs were known, but the publication in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society has increased the count to seven.
Arlo Hinckley, the study’s lead author and a Margarita Salas postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and University of Seville, believes that this research can aid governments and other organizations in prioritizing conservation funding for the protection of biodiversity.
“It may come as a surprise to people that there are still unknown mammal species out there. However, there is a great deal we have yet to discover, particularly with regard to smaller nocturnal animals that are challenging to differentiate from one another.”
Soft-furred hedgehogs are small mammals belonging to the hedgehog family. They possess a long, pointed snout and fur instead of spines. Scientists compare their appearance to a mixture of a mouse and a shrew, with a short tail.
These creatures are active during both day and night and primarily feed on insects, other invertebrates, and fruits.
One of the new species discovered, characterized by its long fangs, was named H. macarong, after the Vietnamese word for vampire (Ma cà rồng). It has dark brown fur, measures approximately 14cm in length, and is endemic to southern Vietnam.
The second new species, H. vorax, is slightly smaller at 12cm in length with dark brown fur, a black tail, and a very narrow snout. It received its name based on a description given by mammalogist Frederick Ulmer, who observed its voracious appetite during a visit to Sumatra in 1939. This species can only be found on Mount Leuser in Northern Sumatra.
During the course of the study, researchers gathered 232 physical specimens for observation and 85 tissue samples for genetic analysis. These samples were collected both from field work and from 14 natural history collections located in Asia, Europe, and the US.

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