Why do we all love hedgehogs?

I was chatting to my good chum Laura Turner from the The Wildlife Garden Project yesterday and over the course of a couple of pints we came to the realisation that everyone loves hedgehogs!

For her day job Laura makes promotional films for various industries and businesses, in her spare time she works on The Wildlife Garden Project. This is a not for profit organisation that focuses on encouraging us into making our gardens a pleasurable place for both us and our native wildlife to share together. As part of the project Laura uses her professional skills to make and edit short films that focus on and provides advice on varying topics from swifts, amphibians, nesting boxes, pond health etc. She explained that her average film gets a few thousand views but there had been one film that more than any other had pricked the web’s attention – her film on hedgehogs!

Rather than the usual few thousand views, the hedgehog film has had nearly ten thousand views and rising steadily. Which begs the question – why?

Why is it that certain animals and their plight plucks at our heart strings more than others? My initial thought was that it is because they are widely regarded as cute, which ties in with the red squirrel, koala bear and Giant panda amongst many others. Where this theory falls down is when I think of the tigers, the various crocodilian species and then the great white. They are all afforded the same level of protection and dedication from the individuals who dedicate large portions of their lives to help ease their plight however, most of us would not call them or many others like them cute.
After a little more thought (and another pint with Laura) I have come up with a new theory – The animals that we the public latch onto and take into our hearts have to have a trait or a way of life that we as humans admire and respect, being cute just one of them.

A creature’s sheer power or might, its relaxed approach to life, its parenting skills, its hunting skills or its physical appearance are all attributes that we admire and respect.

With this in mind, spare a thought for the red fanged funnel spider or Wagner’s viper as I can’t see the general public taking them into their hearts and raising funds to help protect them in the same way that they have the panda or koala bear.
So, back to the original statement, why do we all love hedgehogs? I think it is the fact that they possess more than one attribute we can connect to. The pace of life they lead, their “don’t bother me and I won’t bother you” attitude coupled with their ability to defend themselves against foes far larger than them by simply rolling up in a ball and patiently waiting it out, are all things that I think we humans admire about this plucky little creature…….. did I mention how cute they are?