After the conversation with my mom about hedgehogs, I decided that to learn to love these little creatures I had to first understand them. Here are some interesting facts I've found out about hedgehogs:
Hedgehogs are native to Europe, Africa, and Asia. However, there are no living species native to North America or Australia.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal and haven't changed much in over 15 million years. Some species are exclusively insectivores, but many of them are omnivores. Some people try to attract hedgehogs to their garden as a natural form of pest control.
In cold climates, hedgehogs hibernate, and in desert regions, they estivate (sleep during the summer months).
The name hedgehog appeared during the 15th century as a way to describe this creature's love of hedgerows and their pig-like snout.
Owning a domesticated hedgehog as a pet is on the rise for they are considered low maintenance and funny.
Hedgehogs are immune to snake venom, and their best defense against predators is to flee or roll up in a spiny ball.
|Pudding by Jellycat|
Through my reading, I came to see that hedgehogs offer is a deeper understanding about our emotional vulnerability and the need to defend our soft spots. Hedgehogs possess a soft belly and roll up in a spiny ball to protect this defenseless spot from potential predators. I'm guessing, that on average, I roll up in a spiny ball once or twice a day to protect my softness from perceived attacks. It takes some serious self-awareness to uncurl and see that my sensitivity is a gift best left exposed and not hidden behind prickliness. More importantly, I've started to become aware of when other people are rolling up into a ball of needles. I've begun to tell myself their spiny ball is a sign they are feeling unsafe. Instead of getting all defensive in response, I ask myself what I can do to help build a moment of trust.
Though I won't be adding a pet hedgehog to my family, my mom did give me a cute stuffed puppet that I pull out every once in a while when I want to complain about something or I'm feeling defensive. Just recognizing when I feel like a curled up hedgehog with her needles poised in defense has done wonders for my relationships.
Perhaps this super plush Pudding from Jellycat might be your invitation to recognize your hedgehog nature and to honor this spirit in others.