The Road To A Hedgehog Show

Meet some of the pet hedgehogs that will take to the show ring at the end of June for the DelMarVa Hedgie-Con show.

What has four-toes on its rear feet, can roll into a ball and is prickly? An African hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris). This diminutive charmer weighs only about a pound and entered the U.S. pet scene in force in the 1990s. As more people opened their hearts and homes to pet hedgehogs, the thirst for more knowledge about this pet and the desire to talk about them grew.

Hedgehog enthusiasts learned interesting facts about their chosen pet. No, they are not related to porcupines, despite any passing resemblance. Hedgehogs are in the order Insectivora, while porcupines are in the order Rodentia. The panniculus muscle allows a hedgehog to roll into a ball at will, as long as he isn’t overweight. Hedgehogs are nocturnal, and they enjoy running for long periods in exercise wheels.

Today, the International Hedgehog Association sanctions approximately one or two hedgehog shows a year. The first hedgehog shows in the United States took place in 1995, according to the IHA website. “The number one benefit of hedgehog shows is public education and promotion,” it states.

On June 28 to June 30, 2013, the next IHA-sanctioned show takes place in La Plata, Maryland, just outside Washington D.C. It’s called DelMarVa Hedgie-Con, and quite a few hedgehogs, owners and people curious about hedgehogs are expected to attend. Numerous activities are planned, but a big draw is the conformation show, during which an IHA-certified judge compares each entrant to a set of standards to determine which of those at the show are closest to the ideal.

Dale and John Nastuk are traveling from Canada to attend DelMarVa Hedgie-Con. They operate Canuck Hedgie Sanctuary. Dale said that some people call her husband John a Hedgehog Whisperer because he has a way with even the most unsocial hedgehog. “They open up for him and surprise their owners,” she said.

If they receive permits for traveling with their hedgehogs, Dale said they hope to have five entered in the show: Taddy, Bryan, Rosie, Thumbelina and Jewelee.

“We hope our kids show off their cuteness and bring home a pretty ribbon,” Dale said, “but of course all of us proud hedgie lovers know they are all beautiful and deserve best in show.”

Elaine Becker of Virginia is also planning to attend the hedgehog show. She hopes to enter four of her own hedgehogs, plus the hedgehog of a friend who can’t attend the show.

Hedgehogs come in many colors, plus the pinto pattern and albino. To see them in person, it only takes a visit to La Plata, Maryland, at the end of June. 

The below biographies were provided by the hedgehogs’ owners.

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