A life member of the BRITISH HEDGEHOG PROTECTION SOCIETY (BHPS), I'm passionate about these prickly little fellows and like to spread the message whenever I can.
Erinaceus in Latin. Most of us know what the 'British' hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) looks like - smallish mammal, one inch long spines (some 5,000 to 7,000 of them) covering its back and sides though not the face, throat, chest, belly or legs, has a tail (bet you didn't know that), curls up into a ball at the first sign of danger, has a noisy sex life (so I'm reliably informed) I could go on giving you loads of 'hoggy' information but will leave you in the capable hands of the BHPS for some more GENERAL INFORMATION including what hedgehogs eat (certainly NOT milk and bread) and some of the ever-present dangers (garden ponds and slug pellets included).
But being mainly a book blog, what of the hedgehog in literature?
Perhaps the most famous hedgehog of all MRS TIGGY-WINKLE by Beatrice Potter. The story of a hedgehog who happens to be a washerwoman and a child named Lucie who deliver freshly washed laundry to the animals in the neighbourhood.
Then, of course, there is that awful bit in Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland (click HERE to read on-line) in which the Queen Of Hearts plays a game of croquet using a flamingo as a mallet and a hedgehog as a ball:-
Alice thought she had never seen such a curious croquet-ground in her life; it was all ridges and furrows; the balls were live hedgehogs, the mallets live flamingos, and the soldiers had to double themselves up and to stand on their hands and feet, to make the arches.
But going even further back in time, did you know that Shakespeare mentions hedgehogs in ‘The Tempest’ and ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ where he refers to them as ‘hedgepigs’ and ‘urchins’, grouping them with 'other nasty and vile creatures':-
"You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, not be seen;
Newts and blindworms, do no wrong;
Come not near our Fairy Queen."
And then, probably less well-known, I have these wonderful children's books in my collection:-
So, can you recommend any other books with hedgehogs as characters? OR do you collect any animal books? Do let us know.
- Prickly Pig - Gillian McClure
- The Hedgehog - Eye-View Library
- The Tale Of Anabelle Hedgehog - Stephen Lawhead
- The Happy Hedgehog Band - Martin Waddell
- Spike And The Cowboy Band - John Patience
- One Rainy Day - M Christina Butler (Illustrated by Tina Macnaughton)
- The Hodgeheg - Dick King-Smith
- The Prickly Hedgehog - Forest Folk Tales.
- The Adventures of Hadrian Hedgehog - Candida Lycett Green and Christopher Thynne.