I Had No Clue Hedgehogs Were So Darn Cute

Illustration for article titled I Had No Clue Hedgehogs Were So Darn Cute
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Blame Sonic. Or Ron Jeremy. Blame someone or something! Because, really, I didn't know hedgehogs were this adorable.

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As a photographer (er, hedgehographer?), Tokyo-based Instagram user Shota Tsukamoto has been documenting his cute pet Darcy. Via website DDN Japan, here are some of the most memorable pics:

Illustration for article titled I Had No Clue Hedgehogs Were So Darn Cute
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Illustration for article titled I Had No Clue Hedgehogs Were So Darn Cute
Illustration for article titled I Had No Clue Hedgehogs Were So Darn Cute
Illustration for article titled I Had No Clue Hedgehogs Were So Darn Cute
Illustration for article titled I Had No Clue Hedgehogs Were So Darn Cute
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Illustration for article titled I Had No Clue Hedgehogs Were So Darn Cute
Illustration for article titled I Had No Clue Hedgehogs Were So Darn Cute
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Illustration for article titled I Had No Clue Hedgehogs Were So Darn Cute
Illustration for article titled I Had No Clue Hedgehogs Were So Darn Cute
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Illustration for article titled I Had No Clue Hedgehogs Were So Darn Cute

Sonic got it all wrong. We didn't want a hedgehog with attitude, we wanted one with cuteness.

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darcytheflyinghedgehog [Instagram via DDN]

GIF via Vmoney1337@Reddit.

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

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Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

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DISCUSSION

So, my wife and I currently have a hedgehog. He is almost 2 years old.

I'm writing this post as a WARNING to anyone who is reading Brian's post and saying "man! I want that adorable little guy as a pet."

Hedgehogs are assholes.

Oh sure sure, you see the ones in pictures and in youtube videos and you tell yourself "daawwwwwww how cute." But what you don't see is the hedgehog reacting badly to everything in the room, biting, rolling into a ball and huffing for ten minutes, growling at you in the morning, etc.

Do a quick google searching for 'hedgehog biting' and you'll see what I mean.

See, hedgehogs have been successfully domesticated for about 30ish years now - that's not a lot of time. But they're growing in popularity. This means that as an exotic pet, they're easier and easier to find, but can still fetch a high price. And since they do not require a large amount of space to house and feed, you have the perfect breeder's pet.

And breeders are liars and thieves. They have page after page of lies, flim-flam, and shenanigans. So my first rule about hedgehogs is 1) Go talk to an exotic vet. Don't have an exotic vet in your area? Don't get a hedgehog - they need yearly checkups and a regular vet will get confused at the little puddles of hate. If you do have an exotic vet, ask them for hedgehog info, and you will get a nice earful.

Rule 2) All hedgehogs are assholes - some can just be cute while doing it. Our douchehog (my personal name for him, alongside quillrat, huffmouse, land urchin, and painball) loves to bite. Mostly out of spite. And hedgehog jaws are incredibly strong. Their teeth are just long enough to get a grip onto skin, and once they have some, they clamp down, roll into a ball (of painful spikes), and sit there huffing until their doucheyness is sated and let go. You will be in intense pain for 30+ seconds while they do this. We have no idea WHY he does this, other than to simply say he is a little asshole. We tried DOZENS of methods to get him to stop, and DOZENS more to change his environment. He's bitten many people by now - including our vet, who wanted to prescribe him valium afterwards (no, seriously - it was discussed). We haven't mistreated him - most hedgehogs will roll into a ball FIRST at the sign of trouble or danger or Tuesday, but ours is rather laid back and will simply walk around sniffing things. But if he finds human flesh? Kerchomp. Kerpain.

Rule the 3)rd - Most of the crap about hedgehogs online is wrong. Again, breeders. Lying worthless assholes. Will say anything to sell. We paid $250 for ours. 7-hour round trip to get him. The breeder DID offer to swap him out for another hedge, but I wasn't interested in a 7-hour trip just to grab another spiked asshole. Breeders lie about food (they need hedgehog food, not cat food, which is what most breeders will give theirs). They will lie about medication (mites are a big problem for quillrats, and ours didn't even apply the anti-mite meds correctly). They will lie about pedigree (ours has a 5-generation pedigree sheet, which is good. Most breeders won't provide this, probably because their hedges are so badly inbred that they will probably end up with wobbly hedgehog syndrome - a horrible disease that slowly paralyzes the hedgehog until it dies. No seriously, if you watched all the stuff on youtube and are so enamored, look up 'wobbly hedgehog syndrome' and prepare to hate humans again). Anyway, this ties back into rule #1.

Rule 4) - You will be covered in poop. And pee. These things will cover everything in their own poop. They will cover THEMSELVES in their own poop. They need weekly baths. And most douchehedges hate baths. Meaning they will hate you. Meaning spikeybite time. Of hate.

Rule 5) Douchehogs in a spiked angry ball and generally worthless creatures. It may look cute from a distance, but it gets old really quick and there's not a lot you can do about them. We usually just put the rat back in his cage and let him calm down.

Rule 6) They have some rather surprising environment requirements. Temperatures can't drop below 70 or they hibernate - and since these are domestic animals they do not hibernate properly. 2-3 days and they will starve to death. Keep the temps above 75. 80 is better. Don't go above 85 or they start to overheat. Yes, that means they have a 15 degree preference range. That's pretty small.

They need big cages, but not ones that have multiple levels. They have terrible eyesight and will walk off platforms and fall. Every... damn... time. Their little limbs are not designed for that and will break easily. You don't want that. They like to run, and will do so at incredible speeds (10+ mph). But they also need to roam - you'll need to hedge-proof your house and let them explore every few days. They will always find some nook to shove their heads into that you will have to move to get them out. Which brings me to my final rule for this post...

Rule 7) Hedgehogs are pretty stupid. Most of them are not smart enough to understand that their body size != head size. Most will think that if they can stick their heads in something their bodies will follow. This is wrong, of course, so they will then reverse. In most cases, their quills will get stuck and they will comically walk around with the object on their heads. Or they themselves will get stuck and panic and make horrifying screaming sounds. Good job numbnuts. They will eat everything they find. They will lick everything they find. Sometimes this is bad. Sometimes they will eat something toxic. That's bad. Sometimes they will eat something, foam at the mouth, and then toss the foam all over their bodies. That's weird - self-annointing - and nobody knows why it is done.

Just some stuff to keep in mind if you're now thinking about running out and buying a huffing land urchin of your very own.