Collections through Cake: The Hedgehog

At Leeds Museums & Galleries, there is a great collection of taxidermy. One of our Site Development Officer Gemma’s favourite objects is this lovely hedgehog.

As it happens, this week is National Hedgehog Awareness Week. To honour hedgehogginess in general, Gemma caked (pun intended) ours in chocolate and buttons for spines.

Hedgehogs have been decline across the British Isles, due to a number of factors, including road deaths and death by invertebrates that have consumed slug pellets. 

Other things to note about hedgehogs:
– They are lactose intolerant – so don’t give them any saucers of milk.
– The spines are in fact modified hairs and grow to be 2.5 cm long.
– Hedgehogs have around 5000 spines, but each individual spine only lasts about a year.
– A baby hedgehog is called a hoglet, but they have also been called pups, kits and piglets!
– Adder venom has no effect on hedgehogs.
– Hedgehogs were ‘domesticated’ by Romans, who used them for quills and for meat.

The collective noun for hedgehogs is an ‘array’. At Leeds Museums & Galleries we have an array of nine European hedgehogs in our collections, including two skulls and one mounted in a ‘defensive ball’ position. 

By Curator Lucy Moore

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