THE THROWING HEDGEHOG

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOURDIET - MATING - MYTH/LORE

The Throwing Hedgehog is a small, spiky creature found throughout the southern half of Caelereth. The Throwing Hedgehogs most unique characteristic is its ability to release its spikes and "toss" them towards a potential predator.

Appearance. The Throwing Hedgehog is shaped rather like a hemisphere half-covered with spines, with a triangular head, also spiny, jutting from one end. When adult, the hog can average 50-70 nailsbreadths from nose to tail. The spike pattern makes it easy to recognize a Throwing Hedgehog, as spines only cover the back part of the body, while light brown, dirty fur covers the rest. The spikes are usually striped in black and white or brown and white bands. It has four short legs, also furry, and five-toed paws with small claws on each toe. The black claws are 4 nailsbreadths long, a bit curved and rather dull. They are used for digging, and for getting a better grip when running or climbing, rather than for hunting.

Its face is pyramidal, with a jutting, three-cornered snout. The mouth splits that snout nearly in half, while two beady black eyes seem to balance just over the mouth's corners. The Hedgehog has piercing fangs, cutting teeth, and grinding teeth, usually with bits of rotting meat and plants stuck between them. This factor, along with the jaw-locking abilities of the hog, make a bite from this creature quite likely to produce a nasty infection.

On the end of the snout is a small, black, sensitive nose, usually in constant motion as the hog takes in sensory information. Touching its snout or nose will only provoke it to bité, so it is not recommended to handle the hog at all!
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Special Abilities. The Throwing Hedgehog’s spikes (about 15-20 nailsbreadth) are fastened at the back, and can be released easily. With a shaking motion of its back, it can actually "toss" a spike or two at any aggressor behind it, up to three or four peds away. The spikes are sharp and will lodge in fur, hide, or human skin, causing a painful reaction, but rarely death (unless an infection sets in as a secondary cause!) Some substance on the spines causes a rash, swelling, and intolerable itching in adult humans, dwarves, orcs, and elves. Too many punctures may be fatal to children and Brownies. Return to the top

Territory. The Throwing Hedgehog is only found in the southern half of Caelereth, concentrated in Southern Sarvonia. They are usually living near water, or in their lairs. Throwing Hedgehogs are not found in deserts, and also not in forests, as they prefer a bit more open landscape with low vegetation. They move around a lot, but not as much as the Rolling Hedgehog, or the Armoured Hedgehog. Throwing Hedgehogs usually sleep during the night, but hunt for food constantly during the day.
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Habitat/Behaviour. The Throwing Hedgehog is usually a rather calm and quiet creature that doesn't cause harm unless provoked or it is hungry. It is generally out just to eat anything of suitable size within reach. Still, it is far more aggressive than its cousin, the Rolling Hedgehog, and bites far harder. Also, its body is more muscular and bony. However, the Throwing Hedgehogs most dangerous feature are its spikes.

Throwing Hedgehogs are not pack animals, living in solitude for their entire life, unless when mating, and then only for a brief hour. They are not very territorial, and will generally move around a lot, even though it is possible to see the same Hedgehog in the same area for a couple of years.

If you find a Throwing Hedgehog, it will usually be hunting for food to fill its small but seemingly always empty belly. If it's not hunting, the animal will be in a sheltered lair (cave, bush, anything within reach). Hedgehogs aren’t very bright. They might go into the same trap each day in their life, and won’t learn a thing. They are also easily fooled, and easily trapped. Their meat is white and sweet, though hard to get unless and baked in clay, so they are not commonly eaten by humans.
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Diet. Hedgehogs are omnivores, and might eat insects, carcasses, other Hedgehogs, a variety of plants and small creatures. Some Hedgehogs, although rarely this species, have been tamed by farmers to keep down the biting insects around the cowshed, for example. They usually prefer animals that are smaller than them, like domestic cats, small dogs, lizards, and so on, but have been known to feed off dead travelers or people who have died of exposure.
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Mating. All Hedgehogs mate in the late autumn, when the males find the females, and reproduce without any fuss. The females will raise and rattle their back spikes warningly unless they like the look of the male, at which point they will flatten their spikes down and allow the male to mate with them, cautiously. During the early spring, the females give birth to about 8-16 blind, little Hedgehogs. After a few days they can see, and after a few weeks, their soft, rubbery spikes turn hard. About half the baby Hedgehogs survive their first year.
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Myth/Lore. Farmers in the Tolonian Heath area will sometimes hum the following simple tune while out clearing stones from their fields and tossing them into the hedgerows. Most children know the words - in a variety of versions - and will sing it if they see a hog or are out rashly trying to find a hedgehog to tease with a long stick!

"Hoggery hoggery diggity sproggity,
Watchin-for-pebbles-an-stones-as-I-chuck,
Eadevry biterthing, munchity wingering,
Fine-me-a-hedge-og-an-fine-me-some-luck!"
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