Sunday, October 12, 2008


A few months ago my wife decided she wanted a hedgehog, having fallen in love with one she saw in a pet shop. So, naturally, we bought a hedgehog. A prickly creature, but a friendly character. Rather nervous, and it moves like a clockwork train, pattering briskly along on feet that seem to twinkle.

This is not the European hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus, but the much smaller domesticated cross of two species of Atelerix. He runs around the house all night, then at dawn curls up somewhere quiet and warm and sleeps soundly all day. Clearly an animal that is not concerned with the more complex material of existence. This summer he left the farmhouse free of spiders, ants, and beetles, but in town, in a flat, he is, I am sure, disappointed that his nightly ramblings give up nothing more than meal pellets and the occasional bit of cat food. (We tried letting crickets loose around the house, but while he enjoyed it, we didn't; until he had found the last one they screeched all night, and it took him a few days.)

Has anyone tried other foods? What else might he like as a treat? How can we help him to greater success in his search for a varied diet, and his battle with the living world? I should like to have a happy hedgehog in the home.

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