The Flash and Thelma Memorial Hedgehog Rescue, Inc.
Breed/Other Descriptive Characteristics: Chocolate Pinto Central African Hedgehog
Favorite activities: Exploring and doing laps on his exercise wheel
Election Platform/Campaign Promises: “Make Divide Good Again – Good Homes for All , Regardless of the Number of Legs”
Anything else?: Luigi and his brother Mario and sister Peach are Colorado orphaned hedgehogs that have lived at the Flash and Thelma Rescue for just over a year and a half. They are active participants at local events, including schools, libraries, and our Dinosaur Resource Center.
The hedgehogs have always generated some attention in the Mayor of Divide election – for Colina Dietrich in the 2016 election, and Blackberry in the 2014 election. The various news media often mentioned the hedgehog candidate. Most of the funds we brought in for TCRAS in the prior elections were from out of state and from people connected to the nationwide (and even international) hedgehog community.
I think hedgehogs are interesting to people for a number of reasons. First, they figure prominently in folklore and children’s stories, especially in Europe and England (Beatrix Potter, etc.). Second, they are the oldest continually surviving mammals on earth (130 million years and counting – which is why we make 6 or 7 appearances at the Dinosaur Center each year). Third, they are endlessly curious and zany little critters that are just about the only animal in the wild that can be approached without fighting or fleeing. Fourth, although hedgehogs are made up of some 14 species worldwide, none are native to the Americas. Their range is from the UK to China and from Norway to South Africa. British settlers brought them to New Zealand because they like them in their gardens to vanquish the insect population.
Traditionally, hedgehogs do not make good pets because they have a distinctive body odor (like ferrets) and are often flea-infested. But this is only because they typically live in a wet climate. Virtually all hedgehogs in the pet trade in the Americas are Central African hedgehogs, which are desert animals and the only hedgehog species that cannot hibernate due to their proximity to the Equator. The upside to this is that they make very judicious use of water and are odorless, hypoallergenic and self-grooming. The downside is that they must always be kept at 70 degrees (F) or higher. Although many can be kept in groups (especially females), they are generally solitary and are not “needy” for human attention. Being generally clean, odorless, hypoallergenic, and quiet, they do make good pets for people that live in small apartments, etc.