I didn't become an exotic pet owner by choice. It was the illusion of choice that was cast upon me. My wife, when we received our tax refund, told me that she had always wanted a hedgehog. I guess I should be thankful she didn't go that extra step by having a life-long fascination with Unicorns. I would have been tasked with trying to find her one (see my next article on horses, party hats and contact cement.) But, there she was…all Precious Moment eye'd, looking at me. As if I had a choice. Lady, you know you're already getting the hedgehog. She was. She had already contacted the dealer…breeder…hedgehog purveyor a full state away. It had to be a state away. It's not like there's a bin-o-hedgehogs at the local farmer's market, like a bucket of cute little fuzzy pineapples crawling all over each other.
It happened quickly. I went to Atlanta on a business trip and when I came home, there he was: Buddy the Pissy Hedgehog. He was sitting in his cage in the middle of the floor in our living room. This is a huge cage you could probably fit a small Rottweiler in, that we have for an animal that is the size of small softball. This is what I saw looking back at me when I first walked through the door:
I went to say, "hi" to the cute little fella. Buddy said, "PFFFT!!"
That's his go-to phrase. If he's not smelling everything, licking his face, or smelling everything, he's saying "PFFFT!!" at whatever crosses his path. If he really doesn't like it he says, "PFFFT, PFFFT, PFFFT, PFFFT, PFFFT!!!"
I tried to study up on hedgehogs while I was gone so I could be a good hedgehog dad. I investigated what foods that hedgies like. I purchased all the special foods at the special market for my special little guy. Every single one that I offered to him:
Video after video on line of other hedgies, happier hedgies, enjoying bananas and other things. I try to give them to Buddy:
After a while Buddy began to look like this:
I'm getting nervous. Every night he runs on his wheel like a hedgehog obsessed. Like it's his damn job. I know he's just running on his wheel, getting in shape, thinking, "I'm going to kill the fat one."
I know I'll wake up to Dr. Hedgehammer (that's his secret super villain identity) in my face with his tiny red knife at my throat and he'll growl, "I.hate.bananas." Then it will all be over. It'll be me in a pool of my own blood and he'll be in his cage, sleeping under his cloth taco. I'll keep you updated on events as they progress.