We have a hedgehog called Charlie. Charlie sleeps all day and most of the night too, but in the morning his food is gone and his exercise wheel is stained with poo.
In rare moments of lucidity, he is the cutest thing ever and it is impossible not to love him.
Charlie has become my husband’s new soul mate. This was rather unexpected, and I am still not sure how I feel about losing the position, but I cannot deny that it makes sense, ever since we discovered that their personalities are a perfect match.
Hedgehogs are solitary creatures and they are at their happiest not having to share their cage with another specimen. Rowan’s default mode is to avoid crowds and only come out to play occasionally and for short periods of time. Which happens to be the exact wording in YouTube videos instructing owners how to keep a hedgehog happy.
What they both love most in the world is to be left alone, so they can curl up in a comfortably secluded spot and sleep. They both get aggressively stroppy when disturbed in their slumber.
Charlie hisses violently, which sounds like water being poured onto a hot frying pan, and spikes up into a ball, pretending to be a sea urchin.
Rowan frowns threateningly and gives out warning grunting noises.
The similarities do not end here and are as many as they are uncanny.
They both have a weakness for treats. Charlie’s diet is cat food based with a small portion of fruit and veg on the side. He is also supposed to eat cooked chicken or turkey, but he doesn’t seem to know this and we have so far failed to communicate this to him.
What Charlie cannot resist is a bit of crunchy crispy mealworm. If mixed with his regular food, he will sniff it out, and scoff it whole.
Rowan’s diet is equally high in protein, with heavy meat leanings, and an occasional acknowledgement of fruit and veg. He keeps a drawer full of personalised treats and forages in it every night, expertly sniffing out packets of snack size Reese’s or other crunchy morsels.
Both lads hail from the same continent, which must be an additional subliminal bonding factor.
Charlie is an African pygmy hedgehog, Rowan is a South African medium size homo sapiens.
They display matching physical features, as salt and pepper Charlie camouflages perfectly in Rowan’s grey-speckled goatee.
And finally. Hedgehogs have very poor eyesight, which they compensate for by well-developed sense of hearing.
When Rowan turned fifty earlier this year, he got his first pair of reading glasses, +0.25 in on eye only. Visual impairment does not get any more minor than that, but Rowan took to calling it his disability.
Rowan’s pet name for Charlie is Squirrel, which is as sweet an expression of bromance as any.
I never thought the day would come when I had to compete for my husband’s affection against anybody again, but if it has to be done, Charlie is the most adorable love rival I could wish for.