National Geographic Behind the Cover – Hedgehog Edition


National Geographic’s April 2014 cover features a hedgie:

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The also have a very interesting write-up on hedgehogs, the exotic pet trade, and the challenges of getting a decent photo of a hedgehog.  Great read.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140317-cover-photo-national-geographic-exotic-pets-hedgehog/

Poll: Which Is The Most Adorable?


Recently while admiring the recent wonderful photo of birds and other things from our trip to Disney World (with a Gatorland side-trip), we meandered a bit further back in time and reviewed the photos from Princess in her anarchist period.  There are always a lot of things we don’t post since we generally try to distill things down into the 8-23 photo range.

Here’s one that would have been perfect, but which was supplanted by a different perfect photo:

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Seriously, that hedgehog smirking at Mary-Kate and Ashley, thinking of a hilarious thing mocking them in hedgehog language, it’s perfect.

While perusing them, we found two photos that divided the household.  While one faction insisted on the cuteness of one of the photos, another faction insisted on the cuteness of the other and the weakness of cuteness judgment skills of certain family members.  This resulted in a disagreement that we need you, the Internet, to resolve…  There is a thing that the web-visionary types who give TED talks used to like to talk about a few years back called “The Wisdom of Crowds,” which meant that if you ask a lots of people about something, they’ll be right.  It’s worked amazingly well in always choosing the best presidents and other elected officials, so obviously it’s a great idea for making all choices.

So we bring you, the Internet, a new poll.  Or we do in a second.  First we need to introduce you to the two photos at the center of the disagreement.  Since this poll is part of the important democratic duties of the Internet, we will be as fair, neutral, detached, objective, disinterested, unbiased, evenhanded, equitable, and every other related synonym as possible in presenting these photos.

First, look at the incredibly cute photograph A:

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Note the adorable expression, the heart-melting adorableness of the pose, and general cuteness of this sweet, lovely hedgehog.  Also the general brightness of the photo, and color tones that bring out a light and happy mood, that silly and amusing pose, and all the other factors that make this an incredibly cute photo that you plan to vote for as a more discriminating connoisseur of cuteness.

Next, look at photograph B, which while admittedly well photographed by a skilled photographer, still isn’t as sharp or clear as the former.  The covered eyes, while cute, also keep you from seeing the expression of Princess, while the color temperature seems a bit too warm.  Obviously cute, but in our evenhanded, equitable, neutral, and unbiased opinion, as well as in the opinion of those who are among the better and brighter types like you, still lacking.

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So, Internet, we present you with this poll so that the wisdom of your crowds can solve this question for us:

The Princess And The Owl


Dear reader, this is an informative article about a truly fascinating topic regarding African Pygmy Hedgehogs in the wild, and some fascinating recent scientific research on hedgehog behavior.  As you read this, we recommend you imagine it being narrated in the voice of Sir David Attenborough to improve the experience.  If for some reason you cannot imagine Sir David Attenborough’s voice, substitute Morgan Freeman, Jacques Cousteau, or whomever you can muster up to narrate it.

Below you see Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, also known as the Milky Eagle Owl, or Giant Eagle Owl.  For those who would like to lose some time meandering the internet’s endless web, there is a wikipedia article here well worth reading, and following links on until you are reading about the Skeleton Coast of Africa and wondering why you are awake at 2 AM.

This remarkable looking bird is fascinating for many reasons, not the least of which being that we got some really good photos of one while on vacation which we encourage you to admire, like this one:

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In its natural habitat through sub-Saharan Africa this bird is an apex predator, preying on many species including fish, reptiles, frogs, smaller birds, rodents, and monkeys, but it is relatively unusual in that it favors the hedgehog as prey. (Today we recommend you try to work in the phrase “monkey-eating owl” in some casual comment, because it really rolls off the tongue nicely.)

Yes, this peculiar looking bird, which we encourage you to admire in the following nicely taken photograph eats hedgehogs like Princess Penelope Pricklepants in the wild.

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Knowing this, we decided to devise an experiment so that we could contribute to the body of science on pet African Pygmy Hedgehogs. Using the following really nicely shot photo, not thrown in gratuitously at all, we used Princess as a kind of hedgehog guinea pig.

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How would she react?  We needed to know.  In our first experiment we merely placed her before a photo of the Eagle Owl that was posted on our photo sharing site that you should really take a look at.  Go ahead, it’s OK.  We’ll wait…

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The subject had no noticeable fear response, but was merely curious about other photos and walked across the keyboard pressing keys to switch to another photo and somehow attempting to add the comment ” jijo j joij  mo ”  We were forced to prevent this, sacrificing some of our scientificness.

We decided to approach the subject from a different angle by having the subject approach the photo from a different angle.

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Again there was no really noticeable response other than the subject attempting to escape from us and hide in the couch cushions, which we scientifically recognized as normal.

We used a third approach, since science involves doing things three times.  We held her in her curled up form similar to how a Verreux’s Eagle Owl might find a hedgehog.

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Initially there was no response.  But after holding her for long enough she illustrated fear in this carefully selected photo whose pose seems to illustrate fear:

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We believe this proves without a doubt that African Pygmy Hedgehogs are terrified of photos of Verreux’s Eagle Owls.  If you have a hedgehog, please do not expose them to such photos.  Instead, show them some really remarkable photos of squirrels, or photos of birds that at times reach towards the sublime, or just show them the wonderful posts on this blog with the exception of this post on Verreux’s Eagle Owl.

No hedgehogs were harmed in the making of this post.

 

Hi Again, and Things People Search For to Get Here


Hello, sorry for the long hiatus.  Busy times, and vacations hit us.  We’ll be back with actual posts soon, hopefully, but for now here’s a non-actual post.

WordPress has a feature where you can sometimes find out what a search engine’s search terms were that brought them to a site.  Here’s a list of things people searched for that brought them to our site:

  • awesome holding tea cup girl profile pic
  • baby hedgehog falls asleep in hands
  • hedge hog christmas sweater
  • hedgehog in the news
  • hedgehogs giraffe how related
  • mango hedgehog measurement or description
  • picture of notes
  • prickle frog
  • princes penelope prickel pants
  • princess lava lamp
  • princess penelope pricklepants
  • princess pricklepants
  • punxsutawney phil artwork
  • smartest species of hedgehogs

Dear person looking for the awesome holding tea cup girl profile pic, sorry, that’s not here.  Actually, well, many of you didn’t find what you were looking for.  I wish we had a prickle frog, that sounds interesting.  I was so interested in how hedgehogs and giraffes are related, that I googled things, found the laurasiatheria wikipedia page, and then before you knew it I was reading about fish eating bats.

Most of these search terms are fairly awesome, I am truly happy that someone found our picture of notes, and princess lava lamps, even if they maybe weren’t the ones they expected.

And since no post is complete without a picture, here’s our grumpy Princess not cooperating for a photo:

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Princess Pricklepants, Blogger, Procrastinator


Princess Pricklepants was sitting around not writing blog posts.  She got the internet working on her semi-new laptop, braced herself to write something, then checked Wikipedia to look up something about procrastination, to maybe understand it better.  Four hours later she had finished many Wikipedia articles, culminating with methods of weaving with a loom.  It was really surprisingly interesting.

She had to write.  Write, write, write.  Something.  Something original.  Worth reading.  Fun.  Engaging.  Witty.  Clever.  The Great American Novel of blog posts.  Better punctuated than this.  And, ideally, with more verbs and fewer sentence fragments.  Maybe a little less self-referential.  Maybe not.

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She decided to go for a little walk.  On her walk, she discovered something truly remarkable.  Behind the place where her desk was, at the very spot where she’d once peed on the floor, there was a mysterious doorway.  The sign said it led to a secret garden, though you could read that yourself.

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She hurried through to the other side.  No photos were taken in order to protect the mystery.

The other side was truly mysterious.  Amid IKEA furnishings stood whimsical fantasy elements, seemingly put together haphazardly.  This was very puzzling.  Also why was the radio up where she couldn’t reach it?  Why was it playing Enya songs?  Why did the door look the same on both sides?  Why did it have a sign up saying it led to a secret place?  Wouldn’t that very sign mean it wasn’t secret?  Curiouser and curiouser.

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Then she realized, this would make a great blog post!

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A really great one!

Zoing!

 

But first she had to find the hidden treasure.

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Treasure!

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She decided she would read a Wikipedia article on narrative structure, perhaps there was a way to give her post a clear beginning, middle, and end.

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Hedgehogs and humans don’t always react the same way to things.  Reading an article on narrative structure was so incredibly exciting for a hedgehog.  When she found tvtropes, it was so exciting to a budding hedgehog blogger that she peed a little on the floor.

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And then she woke up in her favorite green blanket.  It was all just a dream.

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But wait, waking up in the green blanket was all a dream too.  She woke up, peeked out of her cuddle bag, and planned for her real blog post, rather than the dream one.

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And, dear readers, we’re very sorry that we had that brief hiatus.  Princess would like you to know that she loves you this much:

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Princess Pricklepants, Blogger, Anarchist


Princess Pricklepants was very excited.  She had just gotten a brand new to her laptop off eBay that was only slightly used.  It was a perfect purple plastic powerhouse for the Princess.  She decided that with this new laptop she would sit in her apartment, write down all her really profound thoughts, and then post them on a blog.  It would be magnificent.  A hedgehog blog.  Probably nobody had ever thought of this before.

She powered up the purple thing.  It was a little slow.  After a few minutes she finally got the internet booted.

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Annoyingly the internet on this computer only had one website.  No wordpress.  No google.  No AOL.  No Yahoo!  Just myspace.

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And not even the new myspace, this internet had the old terrible version installed.  And not even the whole myspace.  Just one page by someone called Barbie Bakunin.  A Barbie Anarchist Blogger.

“Whoever you vote for, the government wins.  Let’s go shopping.”

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This was more than a little frustrating.  She did not want to read this, she wanted to log onto wordpress to write about the things hedgehog royalty think about.  “No malls or credit cards – this implies the abdication of  reason and justice; it is the most decisive negation of  liberty, and necessarily ends in enslavement.”  It was starting to get to her.  “Freedom is disobedience.  Let’s bake cookies.”

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She thought.  And brooded.  And peed just a little on the floor and wall, though it will clean up hopefully.

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More brooding.  Staring into the void, the void stared back.  Maybe the pee wouldn’t clean up. Hello darkness my old friend.

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Angrily, Princess Pricklepants began to approve of violence as a means of fighting the oppression of Barbie blogs.

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She tried to smash the system.

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Then, on reflection, she realized that it was probably her ISP.  She called technical support and after many hours  she had reset the BIOS, reformatted, reinstalled, upgraded her RAM, set alternate DNS servers, installed a new JVM, ejected the cup holder, tried turning it off and back on again, and did some other things.  It started working, though she had no idea why.

Soon she would blog.

To be continued…

Happy Hedgehog Day!


Happy Hedgehog Day!  The ancient Romans would watch hedgehogs on Feb. 2 so see if they spotted their shadow (by moonlight).  In America the holiday was reinvented with a hibernating animal native to the continent.

http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/hedgehogday.shtml

When we tested Punxsutawney Pricklepants using her new bucket wheel (a scientifically valid cave substitute) she won in the Christmas contest, she did not react to her shadow.  It might be the battle towers and mayhem of battle were a distraction, though.

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