Why You Don’t See Many of Them on Camera / Meet South’s Most Famous Hedgehog, Lionel

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Photo and responses: ANNA MATTHIAS, Words and interview: LAUREN FLEMMING

“What people don’t see on camera is that hedgehogs love to sleep!” says Anna Mathias on the challenge of capturing photos between Lionel’s 18 hours of rest.

Some of Charleston’s most famous locals are a hedgehog duo named Lionel and Lilo, who catapulted into the national spotlight with their human, Anna Mathias, behind the camera and a little help from Joe Jonas, who shared the iconic photo of Lionel sitting in a rainbow-sprinkled waffle cone on Instagram, and soon the hedgehog had amassed over 151,000 followers.


any are familiar with this adorable duo, but their caregiver, Matthias, answered some questions for South readers to get to know them better. For instance, did you know Lionel is named after the legendary musician? Keep reading to learn more and find Lionel and Lilo in South’s October/November 2020 issue.


South: I’ve read about how Joe Jonas helped launch Lionel into fame. Have there been any other star-struck moments?

Matthias: Honestly, the ‘celebrities’ we’ve been most excited to meet are the other famous pets and their humans. Some of the pets we’ve met are @tunameltsmyheart, @itsdougthepug, @hamlet_the_piggy and so many other amazing furry (or spiky) friends. It’s hilarious to see their cute personalities in real life versus on Instagram.

S: How did Lionel and Lilo get their names?

M: When naming Lionel I was going back and forth on so many different names. Right before I was about to pick him up, I was scrolling through Instagram and Sofia Richie’s post was in my feed. For some reason, that reminded me of her dad’s name, Lionel, and I thought it was the perfect fit. Lilo got her name because it sounds so close to Lionel! I love how the two names sounded together.

S: What are the hedgehogs’ favorite things to do in Charleston?

M: Our favorite thing about Charleston is being able to walk everywhere downtown. We love walking to the farmers market, down King Street and to the Battery by the water. We’re of course stopping to take photos along the way! Another one of our favorite things is Second Sunday on King Street. It’s so fun for people to get to meet the hedgehogs! Many times, it’s their first time ever seeing a hedgehog in person.


S: Do you have any partnerships with any local animal organizations, such as rescue, shelters, issue-related awareness campaigns, etc.?

M: We currently do not, but it’s definitely something I am passionate about doing in the future! A couple years ago during the holiday season, we partnered with West Elm and the ASPCA to donate all proceeds of a Lionel ornament that was sold in all West Elm shops.

S: What do you think attracts so many followers to your page? Or what do you think makes people so fond of hedgehogs as opposed to a dog or cat account?

M: A lot of people are attracted to our page initially because hedgehogs aren’t as common as pets as a dog or a cat. It’s definitely an unexpected pet! I think people follow our page because we try every day to make our followers smile with cute photos. We try to be a bright spot on Instagram for people to come to forget about anything negative that’s going on in their life for a minute and just scroll through hedgehog happiness.

S: Is there anything about Lionel and Lilo behind the scenes that followers might not know but would find funny or interesting?

M: Lionel and Lilo have other animal siblings! We also have two Pomeranians and a cat, so it’s all about the animals in our house.

S: What is a typical day like for an Instagram influencer hedgehog duo?

M: A lot of sleep!! Hedgehogs sleep about 18 hours a day! So what people don’t see on camera are hedgehogs that love to sleep. The photos and videos are such a small part of their day – all of their days really differ. One day we could be shooting little props at home and the next we could be on the beach!

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