Jen’s Library: The Hedgehog’s Dilemma

The Hedgehog’s Dilemma: A Tale of Obsession, Nostalgia, and the World’s Most Charming Mammal
by Hugh Warwick

I know nothing about hedgehogs besides that they are small, spiky, and a friend of mine has one as a pet. His name is Hitch (the hog, not the friend) and while I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him, I’ve seen him on his webcam and he’s definitely cute.

This book is by a biologist who has researched hedgehogs for quite some time and has developed an affection for them. Apparently hedgehogs are huge in the UK. Well, they themselves are still small critters, of course, but they’re quite popular and common. They’re not often pets, though – they’re wild animals who wander around in gardens and eat slugs and get squished by cars if they venture out onto the roads.

Across the Atlantic, there’s a whole Hedgehog Preservation Society, and some people are so dedicated that they’ve converted their homes into rehabilitation hospitals for the little guys when they’re found sick or injured. If you go by this book, most folks in the UK are in love with these animals, and frankly, I can’t see the appeal. Sure, they’re cute, but why love them and not squirrels or field mice? The author claims that hedgehogs have more distinct personalities than mice, and they’re a lot more like cats or dogs, but I don’t know how true that is. I guess maybe I could see myself putting out a hedgehog feeder if they were native to the area, the same way I put out a bird feeder for the cardinals (which ended up being a squirrel feeder for the squirrels), so I could see them more often. But they’re not native to Maryland, so their charm will remain a mystery to me. Maybe if I finally meet Hitch in person, I’ll become a convert.

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