Back when everyone I knew owned Nintendo (NES), my brother convinced my parents to buy me the OTHER system: the Sega Genesis. I only had two games for the thing: Sonic The Hedgehog and Echo (the asshole) Dolphin before I realized that video games were bullshit.

But hedgehogs weren’t. In fact, life might be damn near perfect if I could have a lovable scamp like Sonic for a kicky sidekick! One day, I shook my fist at the dusty, unused Sega Genesis, that someday I too, would have a hedgehog-sidekick of my very own.

My twenty-fifth birthday found me in a brand-new house, desperately failing to getting pregnant with a second baby, working forty hours a week, with a menagerie of animals already in my care.

The Daver: “What do you want for your birthday?”

Me: “A pony.”

The Daver: “Our yard is too small for a pony. What ELSE do you want for your birthday?”

Me: “A turbo jet.”

The Daver: “Okay, someday, I’ll buy you a jet.”

Me: “You have to name my jet, “Fluffy.”

The Daver: “Okay. So what do you want for your birthday THIS YEAR?”

Me: “A hedgehog.”

Daver: “You’re not serious, are you?”

Me: (glares)

The Daver: “You don’t want a hedgehog, Becky.”

Me: (glares)

The Daver: “So you DO want a hedgehog. Why?”

Me: “I need a hedgehog sidekick like Sonic.”

The Daver: “….”

Me: “He can ride everywhere on my shoulders and we can solve crimes together while collecting those golden rings.”

The Daver: “What do you know about hedgehogs?”

(he was always asking questions like this)

Me: “Uh. Well, they like gold rings and they’re blue and they fight crimes.”

The Daver: “…”

Me (pulling something out of my ass): “Also, they’re indigenous to hot, aired climates and enjoy carrots.”

The Daver: “This seems like a bad idea, Becky.”

Me: “Nah, it’ll be great! Me and my crime-fighting hedgehog will have many adventures.”

Once he was safely out of sight, I googled “hedgehogs,” and found a breeder within ten miles of my house. I called to see if she had any crime-fighting hedgehogs for sale, and when she didn’t, I was crestfallen. She put me on a crime-fighting hedgehog waiting list.

A couple of weeks later, she called and informed Daver that she had a hedgehog for me. Thrilled, we drove to the breeder and I picked up my new crime-fighting sidekick, a cage, and some hedgehog food.

My albino hedgehog looked remarkably like a baked potato and absolutely nothing like Sonic.


I named him Tate, short for “potato.”

“Oh well,” I sighed, “maybe hedgehogs aren’t blue.”

Daver grimly glared, his eyes on the road.

After we got Tate’s cage set up, I read the handouts the breeder had given me.

“It says here that I need to ‘socialize’ him so he gets used to people,” I read aloud. Okay, I could do that. Animals loved me.

When I grabbed Tate out of his cage, he became a hissing ball of pokiness. Well, sure, he wasn’t USED to me yet. No wonder he was scared. After a couple of minutes in my hand, he relaxed a bit and I was able to see how freaking cute he was.

He started licking my hand.

“Awwwww,” I said, “Lookit how much he loves me! He’s giving me hedgie-kisses!” As he continued to lick my hand, I imagined the bank-robbers we’d apprehend, the jewel thieves we’d bring to justice, and all of those gold rings we’d collect along the way.

Tate interrupted my vision of the two of us riding a horse, hotly in pursuit of Bad Guys when he chomped down onto my finger. It felt like a thousand tiny nettles of pain so I yelped. I tried to remove his tiny mouth from my finger, which was now oozing blood, but he held on, determined. I swung my hand back and forth trying to get him to let go of my damn finger. He dug in harder.

Finally, I pried his horrible mouth off my finger and ran to the bathroom to wash the wound, tears flowing. That motherfucker! How DARE he?


For months, I carried him around in his specially-designed “hedgehog pouch,” as the handouts suggested, so he could “get used to me.”

He never did.

My zombie hedgehog was bullshit.

Luckily, I found a new hedgehog.


This hedgie kinda liked me.

(Mostly because I gave him candy.)


Tate was NOTHING like Sonic. When he died a couple of weeks before Amelia was born, no one was too sad. Our scarred fingers were a painful reminder that sometimes things just don’t work out.

I learned a valuable lesson from Tate: not all hedgehogs are crime-fighting sidekicks.

Which is why I’ve decided that I need a feisty camel sidekick named Mr. Spits instead.

63 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Hedgehogs

  1. Wow! I am shocked & dismayed that your hedgehog wasn’t a crime fighter. Or Blue. This is a crazy world we live in.

    When I was a kid, I wanted to get a turtle & expose it to radioactive material so I could have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Then, as a team, we could judo-chop the bad guys. My mom vetoed the idea & bought me a hamster instead.

  2. I think the second hedgehog is MUCH cuter than the first, but I bet he bites occasionally, too. Oh, well, you can’t have everything.
    I felt the same way about the Sega Genesis game. Why? Why couldn’t my parents buy us what EVERY OTHER KID HAD??? My dad was the kind of person who didn’t follow the norm, he damn near wrote the book on going in the other direction. Ah, well, we made it through without too many scars.

  3. But you can’t deny the cuteness of a hedgehog! After the ferrets go, I am not going to deal with exotics anymore. They have cost me more than any cat I have ever owned!

  4. Tate sounds similar to my Hamster Alvin (named after Alvin from the Chipmunks) Cause I wanted a chipmunk but I was told they could not be tamed. So I got the Hamster that liked the taste of blood. He bit EVERYBODY. He was an evil son of a bitch. It got to the point we had to create an elevator type system to clean his cage so we never had to touch him cause he would bite. He died of wet tail. Bastard.

  5. You have completely ruined my hedgehog dreams…except I want one with a brisith accent. A bunch lived in the courtyard of an inn we stayed at in England. Imagine my dismay when I learned I couldn’t smuggle one home.
    Perhaps you should look into a petite lap giraffe?

  6. ‘member if you’d wait to long to do anything for sonic he’d start tapping his foot and glare at you, as if saying “umm,do you wanna make a move or am i gonna stand here all effin day?”

    anyway. tate looked freaken scary :/. also, hedgie #2 looked wayyyy more cuddly and snuggly. 🙂

  7. I never had a Sega, so I never played Sonic…but I did want the Mario game that could make me fly…and to see someone resuce the princess. I was never good enough (or had the attention span for it) and everytime my dad won, I was always someplace else and would get to see the credits roll every time.

  8. When I was in high school, I worked at a pet store. I brought home several different turtles, mine died, my sister’s was mean. My sister’s turtle ended up going to the Science Teacher, who let it go in the “prarie” at school. He said the last time he saw it, it was the size of a hubcap.

  9. ahh memories…in college a roommate of a friend had a hedgehog – brown though – and he was as cute as can be…and about as playful as nothing. no way could college guys socialize anything.
    Your 2nd hedgehog looked more loveable and a better sidekick.
    I keep thinking about getting a harness for our green anole lizard so she can be my sidekick. My hubby looks at me like I’m losing my marbles (duh). whatever. When we conquer reconciliations in a single bound, THEN who’s laughing Mister! bwa ha ha ha!

  10. DD1 had hedgehogs in her 7th grade science class. They weren’t blue. But they didn’t bite either. After reading this, I guess Hubs can be forgiven for never getting me one—it was 13 years ago after all. LOL

    I really like second hedgehog better anyway!

  11. The hedgehog in the past two pictures is an awfully cute hedgehog. I wonder how he would look as a camel?

    I think you should look in to that, should the need for a camel sidekick arise, and let’s face it, that sort of emergency is completely out of the blue.

  12. Oh man, I totally had a hedgehog! Her name was Lois and I acquired her somewhat under the table as NY allows ownership of hedgies, but the 5 bouroughs do not.
    I always thought video games were bullshit, but was so enamoured of all the alt hedgehog drawings or stuffies that filled up the esty shops back in the day and dreamed of a sweet little hog that i would carry around in a pouch.
    Turned out she was a hisser and a shaker, but not a biter. She spent most of the two years I had her with her head inside of a toilet paper roll which, although hilarious to watch, was not exactly what I had been looking for. I sold her to the highest bidder on Craigslist and bought myself a cute hedgie stuffie.

  13. I had a hedgie named Sonic a couple of years ago. He didn’t fight crime, but he did poop on my kids a few times, which I considered payback for the times they pooped on me.
    All-in-all, we were buddies.
    However he was still not as cute as your second hedgehog…totally adorable.

  14. Sounds about right. The only hedgehog I’ve ever encountered bit me. Her owner assured me that she was perfectly friendly but when I put my hand in the cage, she wheeled on me and nipped me. Thankfully she wasn’t nearly as vicious about it as Tate and didn’t hang on, but still. And to top it off, the owner laughed as I washed my (slightly) bleeding finger and said something about the little beast being cranky since she was more active at night. Thanks lady. That would have been nice to know before she chomped me!

  15. Now see, the first hedgehog my cats would totally love… for dinner. That is why we never had little critters around our house when the kids were little and begged for them. The second hedgehog is totally adorable and not snack-worthy of the cats.

  16. I had a vicious hedgehog too… It never got used to me as everyone said he could. I was bit on the thumb. I was bit on a toe. But I still loved him, even if he didn’t love me.

  17. I had a dwarf rabbit that the breeder told me was blue. I said, “He’s not blue, he’s gray.” And the breeder said, “That’s a blue rabbit.” And I thought, “That’s bullshit.”

    Now I have another dwarf rabbit that weighs less than two pounds. He’s my sidekick, so I had two reasons to name him Goliath. He’s useless as a crime fighter, but I never really expected him to have a career, unless we joined the circus. Hey, it could happen! Goliath is black and his belly is white. Wanna guess what color the breeder told me he is? “He’s a Silver Marten.” This whole “what color is the rabbit” thing is bullshit. The link ain’t me website, it’s a picture of Goliath: see for yourself. I better go and feed him before he gnaws off a paw.

  18. Echo. Haha. But Sonic was cool. In fact my youngest owns a couple Sonic DVDs and action figures. They don’t bite.

  19. 1) Sega was AWESOME and I totally want one now… I only ever got to play it at daycare.

    2) I knew the second you said the hedgehog was licking you he was tasting you to eat you. Then I found out I was right. I’m a psychic. That’ll be $10.

    3) SO CUTE!

  20. Oh, Aunt Becky — didn’t you know that it’s actually geckos that fight crime while collecting golden rings? The only reason Sonic was a hedgehog is because “Sonic the Gecko” didn’t roll of the tongue just the right way, and the people at Sega care nothing about historical integrity.

  21. That reminds me of the hamster I bought when I was 13. I saved and saved and saved my babysitting money and birthday money to get a cage and toys and food. That bastard ate my fingers, batted his way out of his cage, and pissed everywhere, which discolored the bricks on our fireplace. When he died, I was relieved. Is that bad?

  22. My husband LOVES his Sega gaming system from 8 billions years ago. So what if we have Playstation and Wii. He loves his Sega hockey. I don’t think he likes Sonic, though, so what does he know?

  23. I laughed so hard I cried, largely because this could be me. Of course, with me it was gerbils, and they weren’t the same sex like the pet store promised.

  24. Please tell me that Hedgie #2’s eyelashes are still as long as in that photo. You make some damn cute kids, lady. As for Hedgie #1, I’m still shuddering at the thought of that thing loose, much less being carried in a pouch!

  25. Dude, did you make that hedgehog costume? It’s friggen adorable! And so is the hedgie inside the costume 🙂 As far as crazy pet ideas, I’ve had my dream pet set on a Patagonian Cavy. I saw them at Lincoln Park Zoo like ten years ago and I’ve been obsessed with them ever since. Someday, probably when you get your jet Fluffy, I will have my own Patagonian cavy 🙂

  26. I had a hedgehog. It hated me. I tried to be nice, but it wasn’t interested in a relationship. When it died, I couldn’t really tell for sure if it was dead or just depressed. Again. I watched it for three days before I was certain I had a dead animal on my hands. That was the worst pet I ever had, which is saying a lot.

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