Hedgehogs

I know. It’s a weird thing to write about. Just bear with me for a bit.

Did you know that hedgehogs, porcupines and echidnas are not related? And here I was, thinking they must be ‘cos they all have spiky things. But it turns out that echidnas, one of those weird and unique Aussie animals, are monotremes. They  are egg laying mammals. And have a peculiar reproductive system. Male echidnas have a four-headed penis. During mating, the heads on one side “shut down” and do not grow in size; the other two are used to release semen into the female’s two-branched reproductive tract. Each time it copulates, it alternates heads in sets of two. … Therefore, no one has ever seen an echidna ejaculate. But I digress.

Porcupines are rodents. Hedgehogs are erinaceids. I had to look that up. They are shrew-like in form, with long snouts and short tails. Neither of these beasts are naturally found in Australia.

It turns out that the hedgehog is a nasty little beasty found in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Anywhere else, they have been introduced. Hedgehogs harbour some exotic animal diseases such as foot and mouth,  Salmonella, Q fever and Toxoplasmosis which are all capable of being transmitted to humans. Eeek!

Having just discovered this horrid details, methinks I may just have to change my hedgehog into a porcupine.

So why am I babbling on about this? Because for the last few weeks I have been struggling with crocheting a hedgehog using the Japanese technique of arigurumi. I am a seasoned crochet person of quite some skill acquired over decades. But this little beast nearly beat me. It’s birthing was traumatic and painful. My hands hurt. And interestingly it was the spikes that gave me the biggest problem. Yesterday, I finally finished it. She looks cute. The pattern named her Scarlet the Hedgehog. I am trying to come up with another more appropriate moniker. Like the Spiked Monster perhaps.

Any suggestions?  Anyone?

Raili Tanska

Persevere


11 thoughts on “Hedgehogs

  1. That hedgehog of yours certainly looks as if he could go spreading disease Raili! He has a pernicious expression! Too innocent by half. It’s a ruse.

  2. She’s cute! How on earth did they find out about the sex life of the echidnas? No, I don’t really want to know! I made an arigurumi sheep once – nobody really appreciates the effort so I haven’t done anything since.

    1. I really have no idea who watched echidna porn to find out that little titbit of information 🤣 Arigurumi is hard on the fingers I find, now that mine are getting old(er). I think I’ll stick to just normal crochet.

  3. Oh no! Hedgehogs are TREASURED here in the UK. They are the cutest things! We were on a Hedgehog “Highway” (they move about quite a bit) and at our last house there were special gaps in the fences so they could get through. Hedgehogs here are a protected species. They hibernate in the winter and produce their young then – probably by having cruised the neighbourhood for sex beforehand. They are solitary animals. https://www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife-explorer/mammals/european-hedgehog

    “Hedgehogs harbour some exotic animal diseases such as foot and mouth, Salmonella, Q fever and Toxoplasmosis” Aaaaargh!

    The proper name for a hedgehog here (which you are not allowed to keep as a pet), is Mrs Tiggywinkle from the Beatrix Potter story….

    1. Thanks for that, Elizabeth. A Hedgehog Highway? That sounds so awesome! I do agree they are cute. I didn’t know BP had a hedgehog character, Mrs Tiggywinklle is a right proper British name

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