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Hedgehogs are seen to self-anoint.

What is self-anointing?

Many people call us the first time they see a hedgehog self-anointing.

They are worried because it almost seems like an epileptic attack.

But don't worry it's not like that!

Sometimes when a hedgehog smells or tastes food or something new it may suddenly start to produce a lot of saliva.


This is is possible because of the way the hedgehog's body is made.


In fact, the hedgehog has a system made up of two small organs in the shape of flexible tubes placed between the nose and throat in contact with the mouth.


When stimulated, a large amount of frothy saliva is produced, which the hedgehog carries and spreads with its tongue on the spines.

By doing this, the hedgehog often writhes, sometimes so much that it loses its balance.

Hedgehogs practice self-spitting from an early age, especially during the weaning stage, because of the quantity of new "smells and flavours". This behaviour is easy to spot.

Click on the photo to view a video of a hedgehog self anointing

Il riccio pratica l'autosputo. Cos'è l'autosputo? Hedgehogs are seen to self-anoint. What is self-anointing?
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There is still no scientific explanation for this behaviour.

It is certainly one more reason to use gloves and / or protection when rescuing a hedgehog in difficulty.

There are many theories that try to explain this behaviour.


One speaks of maintaining, in memory, smells and flavors.


Another tells us that, by practicing self-spitting, the hedgehog can infect the spines more as a further defense against any predators.


Some have put forward the hypothesis that this practice may serve to be recognized by one's fellowmen. It is also believed that the saliva used for self-spitting may contain toxins.


Self-sputum is still being studied and there is no scientific certainty.

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