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Hedgehogs Help Heal The Earth

Hedgehogs Help Heal The Earth

“The fox has many tricks. The hedgehog has but one. But that is the best of all” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve had a mini crush on hedgehogs ever since I read the books by author and illustrator, Jan Brett to my grade school class. The kids were so jazzed about hedgehogs that we did a whole unit about the little critters.

After reading an article in The Ecologist, Why Only Hedgehogs Can Make Us Love Nature, I’m surmising that kids love hedgehogs not only because they are cuddly, but hedgehogs are so much closer to the ground than adults. The kids can relate. I think we all loved the cute fact that a group of hedgehogs are called “a prickle” too. I digress a bit from the original premise of this post and article, and that is: There is a lot we can all learn about nature from hedgehogs.

British scientist and author, Hugh Warwick has been studying hedgehogs for 25 years. He suggests that since the connection humans have towards nature has been documented to make us happier and healthier we need to get closer to nature to heal the planet. The more intimate that connection, the better. We don’t generally live in the woods, scavenge for food or avert advances from predators. So, we need to find ways of falling in love with the natural world, as he feels it is the only way we will be truly moved enough to alter our behavior and stop its destruction.

Warwick describes his experience of connecting with nature through hedgehogs:

“One of my most profound experiences began with a hedgehog called Nigel. I was working in Devon, radio-tracking hedgehogs to see how well they coped with life in the wild after time in wildlife hospitals. They were doing great (apart from badgers and cars that is) and one of them, Nigel, had become my favorite…At four in the morning I had just finished work and stepped outside to do my teeth. Nigel sat looking up at me, and then he headed off towards the narrow lane…I ended up lying on my stomach just a few centimeters away from my busy friend…What dawned on me was that there is no other wild animal that most people can do this with…By being nose-to-nose with a hedgehog I was able to see his world from his point of view, and I was also able to see into his world through the glint of wildness. And once we have seen that spark, it is hard not to be drawn into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the natural world.”

To read more about Hugh Warwick, check out his book, A Prickly Affair, The Charm of the Hedgehog, and his hedgehog-related blog.

Have you ever fallen in love with the natural world through the eyes of an animal? Are there other ways of connecting more with nature that will help us heal the earth?

Read more: EcoNesting, Global Healing, Green, Health, Nature, Pets, , , , , , , , ,

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Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.

173 comments

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8:35AM PDT on Apr 8, 2013

For those that are REALLY interested Hedgehogs are endangered and protected by law here in the UK but you can feed them a mixture of hulled sunflower seeds, rolled oats, crushed (safe) nuts dried raisons and dried mealworms. Mealworms are the most popular out of that lot. I buy them in bulk, it's cheeper!

8:31AM PDT on Apr 8, 2013

They are amazing. I have been feeding them for the past seven years now but last year they suffered a population crash in this area. It really dosn't help that road users can be quite nasty at times. I remember the joke many years ago about truckers getting their kicks from running them over. I have heard witnesses say that they have observed people deliberately swerve to try to hit animals in the road. Two were run over at the bottom of my street. I was devastated as I knew that they were regulars. Then I did not see a single soul for months. Suddenly at the end of the summer, a solitary hedgehog appeared out of the blue. I have not encountered any so far this season but it is still very cold here in Scotland. You can be a member of Hedgehog Street for those with an interest.

5:12PM PDT on Oct 26, 2012

So cute!

5:47AM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

cute

7:11PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

My daughter and I played with a baby albino hedgehog at a pet store today.

Hedgehogs are cool.

Thank you!

10:44AM PDT on Mar 15, 2012

Great article. Thanks for posting.

6:44AM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

Very good article. Thanks.

6:23PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Hedgehogs rock! :)

11:24AM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Love this article!!

2:26PM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

U mnie jeże pojawiają się w ogrodzie zwykle na jesieni i ... wyjadają karmę dla psa i kotów. Często też zbieram jeże z chodnika (gdzie mogłyby zginąć pod kołami samochodów) zwykle z pomocą psa, który delikatnie niesie je w pysku. Kilka jeżyków uratowaliśmy w ten sposób.

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