Synopses & Reviews
From the Romans who viewed the hedgehog as a weather prophet to modern gardeners who depend on the creature to keep gardens pest-free, the small, spiny animal has had a close connection with humans since the dawn of civilization. A creature of fascination, endearment, and cultural significance, it is one of the few wild animals that people can approach without the fear of attack or it running away. Exploring how this and other characteristics of the hedgehog have propelled it to become one of peoples favorite animals, this book examines the natural and cultural history of these symbolic creatures.
Following the hedgehog as it spreads through Europe and Asia to the foot of Africa, Hugh Warwick describes its evolution, behavior, habitat, and diet, as well as its current endangered status. He also looks at the animals appeal, accessibility, and status as a pet in many countries, considering its appearance in advertising, films, childrens books, and games. Casting new light on the ancestors of Sonic and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Hedgehog is a fascinating look at these prickly, admirable animals.
“Oxford ecologist Hugh Warwicks book Hedgehog is a delight for anyone of any age who admires the hedgehog. . . . It explores how this charming little creature has propelled itself into our hearts, not just because of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Sonic the Hedgehog, or the fact that it keeps our gardens free of slugs, but because its a wild animal we can connect with.” Oxford Times
“It is one of the things that I have always loved about the hedgehog, that there is so much more to it than just the animal itself. They have been a part of human culture since the dawn of civilization—the very earliest, Mesopotamia and Babylonian, have left hedgehog artefacts. The ancient Egyptians in particular seem to have been very fond of the animal. These things I knew. But the way the hedgehog has appeared more recently is quite astounding—and Warwick has a field day with everything from philosophy to poetry, via some rather more adult themes and over a hundred pictures. . . . I would really recommend this unique book to anyone with an interest in hedgehogs. Despite taking a serious look at some of the big issues, Hugh Warwick manages to sprinkle his trademark wit and charm throughout.” Fay Vass, British Hedgehog Preservation Society
“With hedgehogs on the decline, this is a wonderful insight into the world of one of our favourite creatures. . . . Whatever you want to know, Warwick covers it in this comprehensive collection of all things hedgehog.” Smallholder Magazine
“There is much in Hedgehog to fascinate and entertain the reader, and anything that Oxford-based ecologist and author Hugh Warwick doesnt tell us about hedgehogs probably isnt worth knowing. The book is liberally and attractively illustrated and makes satisfying, undemanding reading. Sadly, it might also prove to be the closest that many readers will get to these endearing but increasingly rare mammals.” IVU Online News
The hedgehog has had a close connection with people since the dawn of civilization, remaining an animal of fascination, endearment, and cultural significance. It has featured as an icon throughout time, from the Romans who regarded the hedgehog as a weather prophet, to modern gardeners who depend on the creature to keep their gardens free of pests. The Ancient Egyptians are the exception in their very special, if poorly understood, relationship with the hedgehogthe animal has remained one that is incorporated into myth and legend at the level of ordinary people and not the ruling classes.
The hedgehog has spread through Europe and Asia to the foot of Africa, and is a prickly pet in the USA. The hedgehogs appeal and public accessibility has lead to it to be found on numerous products, from advertising to films and childrens books. Instantly recognizable, benign in reputation, Hedgehog demonstrates that there is much to admire about this beautiful, and now threatened, icon of wildlife.
About the Author
Hugh Warwick is an ecologist, photographer, video producer, and radio journalist who has worked at the BBC's Natural History Unit. He has written widely for newspapers and magazines, including the Guardian, Times, New Scientist, and BBC Wildlife Magazine, and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4 and BBC Scotland.
Table of Contents
1. What is a Hedgehog?
2. Hedgehog Names and Folklore
3. Historical Hedgehogs
4. Literary Hedgehogs
5. Philosophical Hedgehogs
6. Artistic Hedgehogs
7. Commercial Hedgehogs
8. Domesticated Hedgehogs
9. Helping Hedgehogs
Associations and Websites