Hedgehog Human History


Hedgehogs have coexisted with us for over 15 million years, and we have benefited off of them since the time of ancient Egyptians. Throughout the centuries, our relationships with these creatures were never faultless. After a long, complicated history with humans, hedgehogs have become our miniature, prickly friends.

Unlike our present day relationship with hedgehogs, 4th century Romans raised hedgehogs for the materials they provided. Hedgehog meat was eaten, and its quills were plucked and served multiple purposes. For example, they were used to train calves to stay away from their mother so people could collect the mother’s milk, used in card paper, and dissection pins (Wikipedia). Along with this, hedgehogs were used to predict weather during Candlemas Day, which has turned into what we know as Groundhog Day. If the hedgehog saw its shadow, it would mean there would be six more weeks of winter (HuffPost). This promotes the fact that hedgehogs were just tools for people during the 4th century.

During the medieval ages, hedgehogs started being depicted in stories called beasteries, which were about imaginary and real animals. Usually, they were shown using their quills to pick up fallen fruit and nuts and rolling into spiky balls. In the Late Middle Ages, things took a turn for the human-hedgehog relationship. Hedgehogs were still raised for materials, but it was used differently. Hedgehog meat, fat, and blood were used as medicine and were said to cure things as severe as cancer to warts. Around the same time, hedgehogs became witchcraft tools and were skinned, and they were consumed as witchcraft remedies. (Wikipedia)

In the more recent years, hedgehogs have been rising in popularity as pets in many places. They are mainly raised for just companionship and entertainment for us. However, companies based around the selling and breeding of hedgehogs for pets have been making profit off of these creatures. Along with that, there was even once an International Hedgehog Olympic Games or IHOG, which was a fair that celebrated hedgehog fitness and was originally used as a promotion event hosted by Dawn Wrabel for a ranch. Nonetheless, hedgehogs aren’t perfect and have been banned in several states in the United States including Pennsylvania, California, Hawaii, New York City, and Washington D.C, as hedgehogs have 17 species that aren’t native to America and can threaten the native species there if released or escaped (MNN). Overall, this depicts that hedgehogs are being treated better than they were in multiple time periods in history.

Hedgehogs and humans have lived in synchronicity for centuries. Today, they are a pet that is rising in popularity worldwide. Our human-animal relationship has lasted ever since the 4th century, and this is a single example anthrozoologists have studied. Animals have a long history with humans, and it would be a shame to watch some of these relationships split due to man-made issues.


Work Cited

“16 Fun Facts About Hedgehogs.” Mental Floss, 27 July 2018,



“Medieval Bestiary : Hedgehog.” The Medieval Bestiary,



Moss, Laura. “Hedgehogs Are a Prickly Issue in Some States.” MNN – Mother

Nature Network, Mother Nature Network, 25 Jan. 2018,




“16 Fun Facts About Hedgehogs.” Mental Floss, 27 July 2018,



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