The difference between the Italian hedgehog and porcupine?

Grape grower and winemaker Luca took the above photo the other day. It’s a riccio who has just given birth to a litter in the Ferraro family’s vegetal compost. That’s got to be a nice spot for riccio!

The Italian word for this animal is riccio.

But like so many words in Italian riccio can denote a bunch of different things.

The common English translation for riccio is porcupine.

Indeed, the crested porcupine or Hystrix cristata is commonly found in Italy and Europe.

But in this case, the creature in question is not a porcupine but rather a hedgehog — a European hedgehog or Erinaceus europaeus to be exact.

The Italian word riccio comes from the Latin ericius which, like in Italian, denotes a number of animals with spines.

The sea urchin is also called riccio (riccio di mare) in Italian.

Either way, those hedgehog newborns sure are cute!

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