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The hedgehog has long had a close connection with people. It has been an animal of fascination, endearment and cultural significance since the ancient Egyptians. The Romans regarded it as a weather prophet, and modern gardeners depend on the creature to keep their gardens free of pests. Hedgehog explores how this and other characteristics of the small creature have propelled it to the top of a number of polls of people's favorite animals.
People react with passion and enthusiasm for the hedgehog, as it is, quite unusually, a wild animal that one can connect with. When scared the hedgehog stays still, allowing a closer look. It remains one of the few creatures that people can get close to without the fear of an attack, or it running away at the slightest movement. The hedgehog has spread through Europe and Asia to the foot of Africa, and is a prickly pet in the USA. The hedgehog's appeal and public accessibility has led to it to be found on numerous products, from advertising to films and children's books. Instantly recognizable, benign in reputation, Hedgehog demonstrates that there is much to admire about this beautiful, and now threatened, icon of wildlife.
Hugh Warwick is an ecologist, photographer, video producer, and radio journalist who has worked at the BBC's Natural History Unit. He has written widely for newspapers and magazines, including the Guardian, the Times, New Scientist, and BBC Wildlife Magazine, and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4 and BBC Scotland. He lives in Oxford, UK.