African pygmy hedgehogs are becoming more popular as pets and with this rises the question on how to handle them. A quick glance at hedgehog fora and Facebook groups shows threads and posts titled “my hedgehog doesn’t like me” or “my hedgehog hates me”, “anti-social hedgehog”, “very angry hedgehog” and so on.
In order to understand the behaviour of our pets we have to look at the animal itself. What kind of animal is the hedgehog?
First off, hedgehogs do not “hate” people, nor are they “angry”. They are physically incapable of feeling such a human emotion. When handling hedgehogs we need to be careful not to project our own emotions and feelings onto the animal; this does not help us understand the needs of our pets. Instead, we need to go back to the root of it all: the natural instincts and behaviour of the hedgehog.
African pygmy hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris) became more widely available to the exotic pet trade around the late 80′s/early 90′s in the US (and a decade or more later to other parts of the world). This isn’t that long ago. We need to realize our pet hedgehogs are not fully domesticated yet - in fact, they’re basically still the same (behaviour-wise, at least) as their wild cousins. I have seen wild caught animals which were more “social” than captive bred ones, and the other way around. This is also why I chose the word tame for the title of this post. While they might be captive born, our pets are still quite wild. We cannot compare hedgehogs to animals we share an extensive, sometimes thousands of years old relationship with. But besides that, hedgehogs will most likely never become like a dog or a guinea pig simply because certain behavioural treats are not in their nature. Learning how to handle your hedgehog starts with having the right expectations of its behaviour.
Hedgehogs are relatively small prey animals. They are nocturnal, spend the nights foraging for food and sleep in their burrows during the day. They are solitary animals and only come together to mate. They are not aggressive by nature but have a marvellous defence instead: thousands of sharp quills. When threatened, they roll into a tight ball and wait until the predator has left (or in rare cases, fight, but only if they’re forced to).
So what does this mean for someone who has a pet hedgehog?
1. Do not expect a similar bond as with e.g. a dog. Dogs are social animals that were bred from an animal that lives in packs. Hedgehogs are solitary. They are not social by nature. They do not need you and while they might get used to you being around, you’re mainly the Food Bringer and the Warm Thing To Sleep On but little more. There will not be much interaction. Your hedgehog will not come up to you when you call its name nor will it “love” you as its owner, simply because it can’t.
2. Being defensive prey animals, you can seem threatening to them. Balling up is an automatic response to a possible threat. This is totally normal hedgehog behaviour.
3. Since they’re nocturnal all they want to do during the day is sleep, not interact with you. And they do not interact or play the way some other mammals do. Most of the time you’re spending together will consist of the hedgehog either running around and doing stuff on its own, or sleeping on your lap.
These things are all very important in helping you understand the behaviour of your hedgehog. There are reasons your hedgehog is displaying these behaviours and if you know those reasons, you can use them to make your hedgehog feel more comfortable around you. Arguably, other than looking cute hedgehogs don’t really have much going for them when it comes to being what most people think of as a “good pet”. They are definitely not suitable for everyone, but if they’re your type of pet they can be very interesting and wonderful animals to have!
Tips on handling/taming your hedgehog
Before I start I’d like to point out that every hedgehog is different and there’s not just one right way when it comes to handling. This is how I do it, coming from my experience with captive bred and wild caught (as well as actual wild hedgehogs) and from well socialized to not socialized at all. Besides the socialization of hoglets by the breeder, character plays a major part in hedgehog behaviour. Some hedgehogs seem to be naturally social and more open towards interaction (or at least let you interact with them) while others will remain more defensive for their entire lives. The key with hedgehogs is patience. Do not expect a hedgehog to stop huffing and balling up within a week. If you just got a hedgehog it will need to get used to its new environment and owner, which takes time. How much time varies. Some will get used to you within a few weeks, others take months. “Used to you” is also relative, as this doesn’t necessarily mean your hedgehog will stop balling up or quit huffing at you entirely - that’s very unlikely, since this is normal hedgehog behaviour.
Hedgehogs have bad eyesight and rely mainly on their excellent noses. You can make use of this by giving your hedgehog an old, worn t-shirt which has your scent on it. Alternatively, if you don’t have an old shirt, you can sleep with a piece of fleece in your bed for a day or two and give that to your hedgehog. By putting this in the enclosure for the hedgehog to sleep in it will get more used to your scent.
The more you handle your hedgehog, the faster it’ll get used to handling. Don’t be afraid to handle your hedgehog; use your bare hands or a piece of fleece but no (leather) gloves, because then your hedgehog won’t be able to smell you properly. Do not reward unwanted behaviour (such as biting or extensive huffing/clicking) by putting the hedgehog back into its enclosure. Instead, enforce positive behaviour, e.g. by offering treats like live insects (I always use tongs so they do not mistake my hands for food).
Some people prefer a more “manhandling” way when handling hedgehogs, I personally don’t really like this for most hedgehogs but it’s a thin line: after all, you’re always forcing your pet to be with you when you get it out. If a hedgehog clearly shows it doesn’t like to be petted on the quills, I don’t go on petting it that way. But I don’t put it back either. Instead, I try to search for a way of handling with which this particular hedgehog is more comfortable right now. And yes, sometimes you have to do something they don’t particularly like, but be sure to reward positive behaviours - you don’t always need to reward with food, but it could also be simply “releasing pressure” (like giving them some space for themselves for a bit instead of continuously petting them, for example). Handling should be seen in a very broad sense. Some hedgehogs prefer to sleep when out while others are active explorers. Try to adjust your ways of handling accordingly. Because hedgehogs are nocturnal, some do much better when you take them out in the evening and/or when there’s dim lightning in the room.
When I have a new hedgehog which isn’t well socialized or simply has to get used to me and its new surroundings first I like to start by having it explore the (hedgehog safe) room or play area. I sit down on the ground and let the hedgehog do its own thing. If it likes to explore it can explore, if it likes to sleep it can sleep on my lap (most hedgehogs don’t like to sleep out in the open so a fleece bonding bag works great for this). In the following days I will start to move around more. First still in a sitting position, then walking around, so the hedgehog gets used to my movements and me simply being there without me really interacting with it directly. You can do this both when the hedgehog is exploring or in its cuddle bag on you lap. For many hedgehogs it’s a combination of the two, some explore time and then back to sleep (especially during the day). Depending on how much time I feel the hedgehog needs I keep repeating this for the following days or even weeks. With some, the slightest movement causes them to raise their quills. Others don’t react at all and could do fine with skipping these steps.
After that I start doing more “hands on” interaction, touching them more, trying to see if they mind petting on the quills or not, or the face, belly etc. Again rewarding wanted behaviour. It’s a constant search for what they really don’t like, what they tolerate, and what I think is necessary for the process. This is something you can’t just know without experience, it’s something you will have to learn and that’s completely fine! And simply being around them, having them sleep on your lap is bonding too. You might not be really doing much but the hedgehog will get used to your presence. Even if you bought a hedgehog with the intention of not handling it much (which should be fine, as long as it gets enough enrichment from its habitat) handling should be a part of hedgehog ownership. You need to be able to check for injuries, clip the nails, etc. These “medical checks” are part of my handling routine: I hold the feet, check the hedgehog all over including their teeth (if possible). Your vet will thank you for this as well! Even when I have no intention of clipping their nails I still hold their feet, not only to check them over but also to make them comfortable with me holding them, which makes for easier nail clipping.
So it all boils down to this: have lots of patience, take small steps, and don’t have expectations a hedgehog simply cannot live up to. Accept that some hedgehogs, even with extensive handling, will never be “cuddly” simply because that’s how they are. All those hedgehogs you see on the internet, the ones that are getting belly rubs and petted while looking extremely chill: these are not the majority. This is rare. And even if you see a hedgehog that tame, remember there’s a lot you’re not seeing: possibly many weeks, months or even years working towards that moment, and it still is just a few minutes out of the hedgehog’s life. They don’t show you the times the hedgehog is huffing and clicking and balling up. Don’t feel bad if yours is, be open and willing to learn about hedgehog behaviour and never stop asking questions. And most importantly, listen to your hedgehog by watching its body language, because that’s going to tell you more about your hedgehog than my posts about general hedgehog behaviour ever could!
Laticauda colubrina, commonly known as the banded sea krait, colubrine sea krait, or yellow-lipped sea krait, is a species of venomous sea snake found in tropical Indo-Pacific oceanic waters. The snake has distinctive black stripes and a yellow snout, with a paddle-like tail for use in swimming.
It spends much of its time underwater in order to hunt, but returns to land to digest, rest, and reproduce. It has very potent neurotoxic venom which it uses to prey on eels and small fish. Because of their affinity to land, banded sea kraits often encounter humans, but the snakes are not aggressive and only attack in self-defense.
What type of tumblr blog would each character have? <3
Mikasa: Cute animals and self defense tips and self love Reiner: Only reblogs and posts pictures with muscles and lots of skin, always deletes the caption Bertholdt: Poetry and rave stuff, sad memes and neon lights Annie: Cute animals and animal rights, sometimes ‘suggestion’ posts Eren: Superhero blog Jean: Mediocre social justice blog, esp gay rights, thinks he knows more than he does Marco: Positivity and safe house blog, lowkey social justice, but in a chill way Sasha: Food blog and recipes and restaurant reviews occasionally Gordon Ramsey memes Connie: MEMES, MEMES, dance videos and fashion stuff Historia: Very good Social Justice blog Armin: Kinda like Sixpenceee but in cool Ymir: Trolls men’s rights activists and spreads lots of bullshit Levi: Follows all the others and reblogs what kinda makes sense to him Hanji: Memes and science and aesthetics and honestly Hanji’s blog is all over the place Erwin: Historical fighting and historical aesthetic blog Nanaba: Fashion blog Mike: Multifandom blog Moblit: Vent blog that’s kinda emo and dark…
"DID YOU LISTEN? NO BECAUSE MONSIEUR ENJOLRAS NEVER LISTENS!" OMG YOU DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH YOU KILLED ME WITH THIS ONE XD
Grantaire is 100% done with his husband. He’s the chill parent while Enjolras is the Stressed dad who keeps checking the ingredients on baby food and who checks for lead in toys and paint.
He probably registered his daughter in a self-defense class animated by Uncle Bahorel and Auntie Musichetta and Apolline loves it because she can kick ass and look good doing it. She’s been sent to the principal’s office several time for fighting with bullies. Can you IMAGINE though, Enjolras being called up to the principal’s office to discuss his daughter’s “aggressive behaviour” ?
“That kind of behaviour is unacceptable in our establishm-”
“Now we can stay here all day talking about respect and safety, or we could talk about the fact that bullying is to rampant in this school my daughter felt the need to intervene to protect her classmate.”
“Monsieur, I don’t think-”
“The details of your incompetence don’t interest me.”
Aromatisse is a smelly pokémon. According to the pokédex, it can produce all sorts of smells, both pleasant and unpleasant, to gain an edge in battle. While scent may not be the first thought that crosses your mind if you’re out to sabotage your enemies, it is certainly an effective technique. Let’s look at some of the plants and animals in our world that use the same strategy as Aromatisse!
First and most obviously, let’s talk about flowers. Flowers are the reproductive organs of plants, and they largely rely on pollinators like bees or butterflies to reproduce by spreading their pollen around. Because of this, flowers evolved to smell pleasantly, which attracts these pollinators to them. Other carnivorous plants, like venus flytraps (Carnivine) or pitcher plants (Victreebel), they smell nice to lure in their prey. In most plants, the scent is produced in their petals. In others, namely orchids, have special organs called osmophores which are responsible for producing the scent.
Having a gland to produce scent isn’t exclusive to the plant kingdom. Skunks have two scent-producing glands at the base of their tail. These glands produce a sulfur-based compound called thiol, which is responsible for the notoriously bad smell. When threatened, the skunk can control the muscles around the glands to spray up to 10 meters away with great accuracy, releasing the awful scent and persuading predators that if it smells that bad, the skunk can’t possibly taste good enough to eat.
Other animals that use glands to produce scents include the opossum, which uses a foul scent to improve its facade when it plays dead. Tasmanian Devils, which produce an odor when they’re stressed out. The lesser anteater, who’s defensive stench is 7x more smelly than a skunk.
Many bugs also have smelly capabilities. The Bombardier beetle stores two chemicals in its body: hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide. When it is threatened, it will mix the two together, setting off a horrible chemical reaction that creates a stinky, explosive, and hot (100 degrees C) spray to ward off its enemies.
Other animals which aren’t capable of producing scents by themselves employ more creative techniques. Some vultures, for example, will vomit if they’re threatened. Vultures are scavengers, so many of their meals consist of rotting flesh. Not that barf smells good to begin with, but I’d imagine that just makes it worse. It’s certainly an effective way or warding off predators.
Similarly, the Hoatzin, also called the a stinkbird, uses its bad-smelling food to its advantage. Stinkbirds have a unique digestive system, like a cow, which relies on bacteria to break down food instead of having stomach acid. This results in the stinkbird smelling like manure, just all the time.
But not all scents in the animal kingdom have to be bad, either. In fact, some animals smell very peculiar. The binturong bearcat produces a compound called 2-AP in its urine. Coincidentally, 2-AP is the same compound that gives popcorn its distinct smell. So, binturong urine smells exactly like popcorn.
Some stick insects produce a peppermint smell. Yellow ant colonies smell like lemons. Spadefoot Toads smell like peanut butter. Beavers have scent glands like a skunk, but uses it to mark its territory instead of as a defense mechanism. The goo it produces, called castoreum, shares so many similarities with vanilla that beavers have historically been “milked” so the castoreum can be used as artificial vanilla flavors in food.
And yet, so far all the creatures we’ve talked about can only produce one single scent. Aromatisse has a scent for every occasion–and some animals do that too. The sea hare, a fascinating undersea mollusc, produces an ink to scare off predators. The ink is both poisonous and foul-smelling, but interestingly enough, the ink’s color, composition, and scent can be changed based on the sea hare’s diet.
Sometimes, the ink can be very attractive to lobsters and other natural predators of the sea hare. If it gets captured, the sea hare will produce this ink and the lobster will drop the sea hare in favor of eating the delicious ink instead. Another kind of ink it produces is disgusting towards its predators, scaring them off like a skunk’s spray and many other animals’ defenses we’ve talked about. Another kind of ink still neither repels nor attracts predators, but effectively blocks the predator’s nose-nerves from talking to their brains, inhibiting their sense of smell altogether. It basically gives them a stuffy nose, so they are unable to smell at all. This causes the lobster to immediately stop what its doing and focus on cleaning off its smell receptors, giving the sea hare plenty of time to escape.
Bringing this back to Aromatisse, this fairy-type pokémon must have several different ways of producing scents. It likely has one if not multiple scent glands, which produce different compounds and different smells. Additionally, it might use things like its urine, its digestive system and diet to produce different smells. These fragrances have a variety of different uses, from defense mechanisms like convincing predators it doesn’t taste good, or pretending its dead, to blocking off the enemy’s senses to weaken it during battle. Other scents may help attract prey and food straight to Aromatisse. Others may help calm allies during battle.
Aromatisse is capable of producing many different scents using special glands, its digestive system, chemical reactions and more. It produces odors as defense to scare away predators, and as offense to weaken or attract prey.
If the 104 squad were all youtubers what kind would they all be?! Like who would be gamers and beauty people and the life hacks?!
Mikasa: TwoMurderedMen - Beauty tips that ‘Slay’ Reiner: BaraBaraBing - Let’s plays Bertholdt: TakenUsername876876 - Doesn’t actually post much, just vlogging sometimes Annie: IfItAintAnimalsIAintInterested - Films cute animals in zoos Eren: ThePowerOfFistfighting - Defense lessons and hand to hand combat Jean: NoHomo-YoHomo - make up tips for men who ‘aren’t gay’ Marco: MarcoP0l0 - Teaches self love and is supportive Sasha: FoodieInTheHoodie - Food vlog Connie: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa - Mostly memes and random videos Historia: Tiny-Lesbians-Against-Trump - Talks about activism and intersectional feminist topics Armin: Dicks-Out-For-Arm-In - Science and life hacks Ymir: Misandry4lyfelololol - Basically just trolls hards