Anti-Caturday: Is That a Hog In Your Hedge Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Hedgehog by XWiz
Hedgehog by XWiz

If you live basically anywhere but Antarctica you’ve probably seen hedgehog at some point in your life. They’re cute little creatures with spikes instead (or rather next to) fur. A common misconception in Finland is that they like milk though they are actually lactose intolerant. Another common misconception is that they’re insectivores but although they do eat insects they also eat pretty much everything else as well from carrion to fruit to reptiles.

The most important and noticeable part of a hedgehog are the aforementioned spikes. Unlike porcupine quills the spikes on hedgehogs don’t come off easily. The spikes have evolved from hairs and are used for defense. When threatened, most hedgehogs will instinctively curl up into a tight ball that makes all the spikes stand out dangerously. They are not poisonous as a rule but wounds caused by them are prone to infection due to a process called anointing. Whenever a hedgehog encounters a new scent it will chew the source into a paste and slather it all over the spikes. So if you find a hedgehog that stinks to high heavens, you now know why.

Hedgehog by WillBurton2
Hedgehog by WillBurton2

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