The adorable Hedgehog has been around for a long time and has changed little over the last 15 million years. There are many stories about this fellow from the areas where it exists (Europe, Asia, Africa, as well as being introduced in Australia and New Zealand) and I want to share some folklore with you today.
The Hedgehog in Folklore
In Scandinavia, people believed it was lucky to have a Hedgehog on the farm and that it was important to take good care of it with food and drink. It would make the fields yield a better harvest and the animals healthy and strong. It was not to be harmed or killed because that meant serious bad luck for the one who did so.
In some other areas, like Northern Germany and Mongolia, this cute animal was seen as unlucky. In Germany, having one in the barn meant sick udders for the Cows and in Mongolia, they thought it was bad luck if one entered the home. It’s thought that this was because a Hedgehog usually walks with its head down, concealing its face and this meant that it wasn’t open and honest.
- In ancient Egypt, they made amulets depicting Hedgehogs so they most likely had a good reputation there.
- The Irish knew the hedgehog as the ‘ugly ones’, and they were sometimes thought to be witches who had taken this form to steal milk and eggs.
- In Central Asia and some parts of Iran, it’s associated with agriculture, abundance and the gift of fire
- In Slavic fairy tales, the hedgehog is a keeper of knowledge and order as well as an embodiment of magical power.
This particular hedgehog was from a Mycenean vase.
The Hedgehog as a Spirit Animal
As a symbol or spirit animal, the Hedgehog stands for energy, intuition, protection, intelligence, uniqueness and ingenuity.
Those who have it as their spirit animal know how to take care of themselves and they do it with grace and style. They always land on their feet and go through life’s challenges with the same calm, cool practicality as the Hedgehog.
The association with intuition, psychic abilities, prophetic dreams and visions comes from the fact that it’s a nocturnal creature and the night was seen as mysterious and dangerous.
Its resistance to snake venom is an important symbolism for many native tribes in Europe and they see it as a victory over evil, a sign of resurrection, life after death, or defeating death completely.
It’s also symbolic of fertility and being connected to the earth. Its belly is close to the earth and this close proximity is symbolic of its connection to the earth and all that is fertile.
Make Your Backyard Hedgehog-Friendly
In this modern world, the Hedgehogs need a little help from us to make it because we endanger it with our way of life. Here are some tips on how to make your backyard and garden better for them.
- A garden that’s too tidy and minimalistic with only short grass and no trees, bushes, leaves, weeds and compost isn’t a good place for these animals. Let a piece of it grow wild, somewhere it’s quiet, shaded and out of the way.
- Make a small hole in your fence or other barriers to give them free passage.
- Provide a nesting place with either an open compost, a pile of dry grass, leaves or branches. A pile of firewood or something similar with a low space underneath it will also work.
- Never burn piles of garden waste that has been lying around. There may be a Hedgehog in there
- Never, ever give them milk or other dairy products (not cat milk either). It can kill them. Provide access to water instead.
- If you have a wild area or a compost, they can get their food there. They eat all kinds of bugs and worms. Don’t give them foreign fruit or berries as they may be toxic to them, even if they taste great to us. If you want to feed them, give them dry cat or dog food. They’re carnivores.
Have you seen Hedgehogs where you live?
I haven’t seen a single one here, unfortunately
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