All ye pet owners searching for that offbeat pet to help you prove to strangers that you aren't some cat or dog yuppie piece of human garbage but a unique individual with FEELS and THOUGHTS — the hedgehog is officially mainstream. That's not a terrible thing, considering that hedgehogs are super cute, relatively easy to care for, and agreeable companions for people with allergies. It's just, now that hedgehogs have climaxed (in the cultural sense, not the orgasm sense), people determined to make strange pet choices will seek out a new semi-exotic animal to cage and spoon feed. Fingers crossed the possum gets overlooked.
According to the New York Post's completely reliable trend piece about hedgehogs, hedgehogs are really popular pets right now. It isn't at all difficult to see why — hedgehogs are cute, cuddly, and make great meals for cats in a pinch (jokes! don't feed your hedgehogs to your cats (unless you love your cats and hate your hedgehogs, then you do you)).
From the Post:
Blame the Internet, but hedgehogs have become the It girl of exotic pets in recent years. With their little pointy noses, beady eyes and round, spike-covered bodies, they are endlessly photogenic and ripe for memes, Buzzfeed lists and YouTube videos.
"People love anything that looks a bit odd and unique," says Emily Huh, director of business development for Cheezburger, the media company behind dozens of websites, like Lolcats, devoted to cute animal pictures. "And [hedgehogs] have the ability to roll into a ball and just be a spiky ball of spines."
So, how seriously can we take the hedgehogs-as-pets trend? According to a random hedgehog breeder on Long Island, we can take the hedgehog craze VERY SERIOUSLY because this random hedgehog breeder has seen hedgehog sales shoot up — like a geyser of molten rock from the core of humanity's desire to imprison all manner of animals — 50 to 70 percent over the last two years.
BUT! Hedgehogs aren't all cuddles and exotic palm feces. They require diligent care, even if they only eat a teeny, tiny bit of food (about a tablespoon) each day, and they don't like to wrestle. If you want a pet that will wrestle you, get a medium-to-large dog or a lowland gorilla. Orangutans also work, but they're notoriously silly. Also, hedgehogs can give you ringworm, which is gross, and they only live for, like, five years, enough time for you to establish an unbreakable bond that Death will break with its icy fingers.
By then, however, hedgehogs will be so popular that you can just order one from Amazon and it will parachute into your apartment. It will be wearing goggles and be so cute that you'll forget about your old, dead hedgehog, whose body you will probably dispose of (discreetly) of your kitchen trashcan because a dead body is a just a piece of trash.
Image via Sott Cornell / Shutterstock.