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Anointing

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Anointing

What is Anointing?

Anointing is a possible response that a hedgehog will exhibit when they encounter a smell that they are unfamiliar with. In such an event the hedgehog will possibly bite or chew at the source of the smell, then they will froth at mouth to create a lather. Next they will deposit their foamy saliva on their quills by contorting their bodies. Many have seen hedgehogs contort their bodies until they fall over, some become so entranced that they become unaware of their surroundings at the time.

What Anointing Looks Like

Many hedgehogs will lick or chew on whatever they find tastes good, strange or different. If a hedgehog does this with its food it will not swallow the food, just mash it up in it's mouth. Once it creates a paste of the substance or produces a large amount of saliva the hedgehog will contort to weird positions to spread the paste and saliva on it's quills. Some are very systematic in this exercise making sure to cover their entire sides and foreheads, while other will splat it on wherever they can reach, and may only do it on one side. When it comes to anointing, every hedgehog is different in it's habits.

What do Hedgehogs Like to Anoint off of?

Every item a hedgehog can anoint off of is hit and miss. Every hedgehog is different and some may not even touch certain substances.
Here is a small list of items a hedgehog may anoint off of:
  • Leather
  • Flavored Juices
  • Vanilla
  • New Foods
  • New Treats
  • Medicine
  • Used Cloths or Towels
  • Hair
  • Sweat

Why do Hedgehogs Anoint?

No one is quite sure why hedgehogs anoint. There are many theories out there which try to explain this behavior. A couple of theories are:
  • The hedgehog is trying to mask their scent to better hide from predators
  • The foam acts as a toxin to the hedgehog's enemies, causing irritation.
No matter what the real reason is that our spiny friends anoint, it is a perfectly normal behavior, and can be quite amusing to watch.


References

  1. Hedgehog Central - Introduction to Hedgehogs (external link)

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Created by: admin Last Modification: Monday 16 of March, 2009 11:15:30 EDT by admin


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