Tiggy’s opinion of this weather


Being a hedgehog owner is sometimes a very tedious task. They are deceptively needy little things. Deceptive, because they don’t whine when they want to eat, or purr in your lap when they want attention. They spend all day sleeping in a hole, and are only active a few hours each night. Basically it’s super easy to forget you even own a hedgehog.

Somewhat related: About this time every year I post something about the crazy weather we have around here. That’s because after living here for all these years I still can’t believe this phenomenon that has us wearing shorts one day and building snowmen in the backyard the next. Something like this happens every year and I’m always taken my surprise yet again.

I’m going somewhere with this, I promise.

So, last week when the temperature in the house hit 78 degrees, and the weather folks were talking about “spring has sprung” and all that, I felt it was time to turn off the heater and start thinking about air conditioning again. In fact, I even ran it for 30 minutes one day, to get the juices flowing, you know.

Anyway. We had a nice few days with some fantastic weather. And the heater stayed off and I pretty much completely forgot about sweaters and blankets, and necessary cups of hot chocolate.

And then one morning I woke up and thought wow, the house is kind of cold. So I stumbled into the hall and blinked up at the thermostat. 63 degrees. wow, the house hasn’t been this cold since before we got Miss Tiggy…



And with that I raced into her lair, which was more like an ice cave at this point, if I’m being honest. I rooted around her igloo and dumped a very unresponsive hedgehog out into my hand.

So, here’s where hedgehog ownership becomes tedious. Hedgehogs require a consistent temperature in the 70s. Most are maintained around 73 degrees, but I’ve corresponded with a couple of people who say their hedgehogs require at least 78. We keep Miss Tiggy at 69 degrees, which is pushing it, honestly. A temperature under 66 degrees will prompt her to hibernate.

Which is exactly what I found.

Have you ever tried to wake a hibernating animal? It is a scary situation. It doesn’t look like sleeping, at all. It looks like something very different. Like, wobbly legs and foggy, staring eyes. And then there’s the lolling tongue and the drool… Hedgehogs are NOT supposed to hibernate. Just because they can doesn’t mean they should.

So I did what any adoring pet owner would do, of course. Recalling a story I’ve heard my veterinary father tell, about a moronic man trying to revive a hibernating rattlesnake by sticking him inside his shirt (I did mention he was a moron, right?), I stuck Miss Tiggy in my sweatshirt and carried her around all morning.

After about three hours she was awake enough to start huffing at me, which is always a good sign. And I had enough quill marks across my stomach to look like I’d be attacked by a pin cushion. I hope they aren’t permanent.

Now that she’s attempted hibernation once, she’s more likely to try it again. So, for now at least, the weather in her lair is a balmy 78 degrees and sunny.

And I am eternally thankful I’m not digging a small hole in the backyard.  


Anonymous said…
Can you use the heating pad to keep her warm? 123 ME
Jackie said…
Mom, she has a small space heater in her "lair" so we don't have to heat the entire house. It just wasn't running on the day of this attempted hibernation.