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Hedgehogs Don't Fly-


A True Short Story, by Katherine Nelson

Years ago I visited Texas . I had a wonderful time there, and one of the things I decided to bring home with me was a pair of baby hedgehogs. I fell in love with the cute little critters and could hardly wait to get them home. I had never seen anything like them before.

If you have never seen a hedgehog, they are very funny little creatures. They have spines over their whole body. When they are comfortable, the spines all lay down in one direction, like fur. But when they are frightened, the spines stand straight up, and the critter can curl into a perfectly round ball. You can’t find its head and nothing will coax it back out until it feels safe. They eat bugs and snakes in the wild and are very intelligent little critters.

So I bought a pair of hedgies, a male and female, to take home and go into the breeding business. I had to fly all the way back to Alaska with them, and I was afraid that the babies would not make the trip well in the cargo part of the plane. I called the airline and was told that they could not ride up front in the passenger area under my seat, as I had seen cats and dogs do. Well, not to be dismayed, I decided to carry my hedgies in my shirt pockets, under my jacket. I took the precaution of stuffing a whole box of Kleenex tissue in my bra beneath the shirt, to protect myself from their little spines poking through. Tex and Aggie were going to have a very comfortable trip.

Everything went great, until take off. As the plane began to ascend, the little hedgies felt the difference in pressure and began to panic! First Tex went into defensive posture. His little spines felt like acupuncture needles! It was all I could do not to gasp in pain. A second later, Aggie balled up and her little body became a living pin cushion! That whole box of tissue was worthless. I had two spiny urchins in my chest pockets! I must have looked like I was a candidate for a heart attack as I grabbed my chest and bolted for the bathroom! My travel companions were laughing so hard,  all they could say to the stewardess was that flying didn’t seem to agree with me.

It was a very long flight!