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4 Gross Things You Didn't Know About Hedgehogs

Sonic: The Lost World is out today, but will the blue spiky one do any of this stuff in his new video game? We really hope not.

Stress Makes Their Poop Turn Green

Like God, the government, and our friend Off-The-Books Barry, hedgehog bowels work in mysterious ways. Their poop usually arrives in the form of little brown pellets, which it will drop all over your floor with all the discrimination of a World War II bomber pilot who’s simultaneously just lost his third engine and realized that they’re serving chocolate pudding back at base. Don’t rely on brown solids, though – hedgehog poop can often turn green as a result of stress, because apparently, being a hedgehog comes with so many nerve-wracking responsibilities. Add in the diarrhea that can accompany such delightful changes of palate, and you’ve got a recipe for green, liquid hedgehog shit smeared into your soft furnishings forever. At the other end of the scale, some species also suffer from constipation. The good news is, this can be easily relieved by placing your hedgehog in a couple inches of warm water. The bad news is, after witnessing that “relief,” you will never want to use your bathroom sink ever again.

 

They Rub Stench On Themselves


Photo: Flickr.com / madaise

One of the less adorable hedgehog behaviors is called “anointing,” which is a pretty formal word to describe something that’s basically a more hands-on approach to rolling in garbage. When a hedgehog encounters a new smell, they will cram part of the source of that smell into their faces, chew it until they foam at the mouth, then lick that foam all over their own bodies. Now, sure, technically, your hedgehog could find a stash of candy and, hey presto, you’ve got a chocolate-scented hedgehog! But really, what’s it more likely to run into in your back yard – a stack of Hershey’s Kisses, or a giant, coiled up turd left by the neighbor's Doberman? 

 

 

Obesity Turns Their Armpits Yellow

If you’ve ever seen a real fat dude in a white shirt on the bus, you’ll notice that the area around his armpits is probably stained a nasty shade of yellow. Well, hedgehogs have the same problem – only it’s actually their skin that changes color. Tragically, this is more than a case of tubs needing to buy aluminum–free deodorant; yellowing armpits in overweight hedgehogs is actually a sign of Fatty Liver Disease, which is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the hedgehog is ingesting more fat than its liver can cope with. That isn’t the only ailment you might find your spiky pal suffering from – some are also afflicted by Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome, a neurological disease that paralyzes parts of the body, starting with the front legs. This just goes to show that it doesn’t matter how cute a name you give a disease, it still sucks.

 

 

They’ll Infect You With Fungus

D’aww, look at the cute little hedgehog! Look at him! He’s so cute and spiky and fuzzy and oh God we just want to pet him and love him and put him in our mouths and – wait, what the hell is that?


Photo: Les Stocker / Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013

That, friends, is what happens when your hedgehog gets a fungal infection, something that many species - including the most common domesticated breed, the adorable African pygmy hedgehog - are prone to do. Often caused by the Trichophyton fungus, these infections can cause everything from quill loss and flaky skin to crusty feet and ear discharge. The worst part is, these infections can be transferred to humans, resulting in stuff like athlete’s foot or ring worm. Feeling itchy yet? Good thing you’ve got a scratchy little friend to rub yourself against!

 

 

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