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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 people’s 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 animal’s appeal, accessibility, and status as a pet in many countries, considering its appearance in advertising, films, children’s 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.

224 pages | 60 color plates, 40 halftones | 5 3/8 x 7 1/2 | © 2014


Biological Sciences: Natural History

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“Oxford ecologist Hugh Warwick’s 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 it’s 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 doesn’t tell us about hedgehogs probably isn’t 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

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



Select Bibliography

Associations and Websites


Photo Acknowledgements


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