The Curious Behavior of the Hedgehog

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Hedgehogs perform a very strange behavior, called “self-anointing.” This mainly occurs when they encounter a smell they are unfamiliar with, which may be particularly strong or noxious. Although no one is exactly sure of the purpose for this behavior, some biologists theorize that hedgehogs use this as a defense against hungry predators (their quills can stay toxic for days after application), while others posit that the strong aromas help to cover up the animal’s scent.

These little critters have a high tolerance for certain toxins — they have been known to self-anoint toad venom — however, the extent of their tolerance is still unknown. Please do not attempt to feed hedgehogs in the wild.

Rather, watch the video to see this odd behavior up-close!

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