While snacking on Chiendent, sometimes Loki and Juno will make a new friend they finding hiding in it. Like this fella: Harry Hérisson. Juno found Harry and I quickly called her off. She and Loki politely obeyed and left little Harry alone.
Les Hérisson (hedgehogs) are common in Switzerland. I don't know much about the hedgehog so I did a little research:
- The hedgehog got its name because it makes little pig like grunts as it forages for food through hedges and other undergrowth.
- They snack on small creatures and insects like worms, snails, mice, centipedes and snakes (they're even somewhat resistant to poisonous snakes) which makes them a welcome guest in most household gardens.
- Hedgehogs are not exclusively insectivores but are almost omnivorous. They also feed on frogs, bird eggs, mushrooms, grass-roots, berries, melons and watermelons.
- Hedgehogs are nocturnal and will forage at night, eating 1/3 of their body weight in one night.
- A hedgehog's favorite past times is "tubing," or the act of sticking his heads in tubes, like toilet paper tubes, and walking around with it on his head. Owners of domestic pet hedgehogs encourage this ridiculous if not entertaining behavior, by giving them clean tubes, cut lengthwise to prevent their little buddy from being trapped against his will when he's had enough tubing fun. Still, some are daft enough to get themselves stuck for a few hours. It's funny, dogs and cats live to avoid the cone of shame, yet hedgehogs seem to dig those tubes. Check out the cutest photo ever of a tubed hedgehog or go watch a youtube video of how a hedgehog and it's owner gets their kicks.
- In 2006, McDonald's changed the design of their McFlurry containers to be more hedgehog-friendly. Previously, hedgehogs would get their heads stuck in the container as they tried to lick the remaining food from inside the cup. Then, being unable to get out, they would starve to death.
- During the 1980s, "hedgehog-flavour" crisps were introduced in Britain, although the product did not contain any hedgehog.
- Oddly, hedgehogs don't have any natural predators, except for cars. They have a coat of stiff, sharp spines. If attacked they will curl into a prickly and unappetizing ball that deters most predators.Even though the spines are enough to protect them, it curls into a tight ball with a highly developed circular muscle that runs along the sides of the body and across the rump and neck to contract itself into a bag into which its head and legs are folded. Not many can pry it open. The hedgehog also sleeps in this position, so is rarely caught unprotected.
- Hedgehogs perform a courtship ritual in which the male walks round and round a female in estrus, often for hours at a time. After mating, they usually go their own ways. Typical.
- Hedgehogs are a natural pesticide in Switzerland so they are protected by law. Not surprisingly, the Swiss have rules for protecting the hedgehog.
Seriously though, the Swiss are dead set on protecting the little guy. In the spring you'll find many warning road signs around here that read:
Attention aux hérissons!
Coucou à tous les automobilistes! Je suis juste là pour vous rappeler de faire bien attention sur la route
car c'et la période des bébés hérisson, trop mignons, inoffensifs et utiles.
Watch out for hedgehogs!
Hi to all motorists! I'm just here to remind you be very careful on the road and since this period hedgehog babies too cute, harmless and useful.
Isn't that cute? It's so Swiss. Always watching out for everyone. From the little innocent hérisson to the sociopath who escaped from prison on his annual walk-about.
It just goes to show you, nobody is too small or too psycho to fall under Swiss protection.
On another note, The Hedgehog looks like an interesting movie and I'm now inspired to rent it.