The Animal friends are creatures that appear in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. They are small animals that come in a variety of different species and the friends of Sonic the Hedgehog. They are often the target of Dr. Eggman who uses them to power Badniks. In later Sonic games (Sonic Adventure onwards), the animal friends appeared to be scrapped in favor of a wider variety of small animals. However, in most recent Sonic games, the concept of using animals to power robots is less frequent.
Although only a small number of animal friends are named (that is, one character per depicted species), numerous animals appeared as captives, either in Badnik shells or in capsules. Certain drafts of the Sega of America Sonic Bible explained that Sonic's animal friends all have large families, and that it is the family members who must be rescued. This was never depicted in any Sonic publication, however, one of the animal friends, Ricky is said to be an incarnation of Sally Acorn.