August 08, 2007

Name: LT Carl Goforth
Posting date: 8/8/07
Stationed in: Anbar Province, Iraq
Milblog url:

Indigenous to Iraq and most of the Middle East, hedgehogs are occasionally found on-base and the surrounding area. "Knuckles", our resident hedgehog, was found by some KBR contractors and brought to Charlie Medical.

There are 16 species of hedgehog. They can be found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand. There are no hedgehogs native to Australia or North America. They adapt well to dogs and cats, but can be threatened by them; i.e. they will spend a lot of time rolled into a ball.

Framed_goforth_knucklesKnuckles has hundreds of hard and pointy spines, which are hollow hairs made stiff with keratin. They are safe to touch, and are non-poisonous and aren't barbed. Their best defense when threatened is to roll into a ball with all of their spines exposed, although they are also known to make a run for it or attack back by throwing their spines against the attacker. Think 'Sonic'.

His nose is more of a snout, similar to an Aardvark's, and is specially designed as a bug vacuum.

Hedgehogs make great pets if 1) you don't mind the fact that they are nocturnal and will be running around the house all night, and 2) you don't mind that they chirp and sing all night, too. It is illegal to own hedgehogs in certain states, though I have no idea which ones. Iraq doesn't count. So Knuckles is here to stay as long as he likes.


Just for the record, hedgehogs, while very cool, aren't native to New Zealand either (the only native land mammal here is a small bat). They're an import but they're far less trouble than most other introduced species.

They're also unfortunately known as carriers of TB, I really hope Knuckles isn't!

Good luck with Knuckles!

glad to see something positive is coming out of this war.

I enjoyed this--I'm glad you have a little pet, and he is lucky to have you. A morsel of sanity in your tough situation.

I wish you all the best.

Allow me to suggest that, if the gentleman in the picture is married, he should re-do the picture with his hands folded the other way so that the ring shows. This will prevent the deluge of proposals which is otherwise likely to result from its being posted here.

I'm glad to know he's getting good care! I hope you make wonderful friends for each other.

How very sweet Knuckles is. I rescue African hedgehogs captive in the US when kids get tired of "Sonic" and find out he doesn't play Frisbee very well and he poops lots. It's a joy to see this little indigenous creature with the brown face enjoying your company and vice versa. Have a safe stay!!!

Hi there! Knuckles is very cute. I have a hedgie named Cringer! A hedgehog forum member linked your blog to forum--so expect to hear from LOTS of hedgie owners over here!!!!

Nice pet! In two years as an IDF combat medic, my favorite "save" ever was one of those little fellas who was rolled up into a ball, surrounded by six or seven wild Gazan cats. Score: IDF 1, Cats 0

I wish I could send you a puppy! However, it is great that you can learn to love what you have where you're stuck at. It is always helpful to have a good attitude.

I think it’s really great that you guys have a pet to keep around. Sometimes that small things like that can help make a unbearable conditions seem livable. Cheers to Knuckles!

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