Tag Archives: hedgehog

Hedgehogs couchant and rampant

A Tory MP has suggested that the lion be replaced by the hedgehog as national symbolic animal of Britain. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-34786004  I am not sure that the whole of Britain sees the lion as its national emblem, but, leaving that aside, both as a way of raising the hedgehog’s profile and chances of survival, and as a recognition that. … er … there aren’t lions in the UK, this seems like a good idea. It is a less bombastic, boastful national animal, too. (I would also like to see Scotland debating the possibility of a hedgehog rampant on its royal flag – and why not a red draenog for Wales?). Anyone doubting the pictorial potential of the hedgehog should look at these great medieval images: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2014/10/how-to-be-a-hedgehog.html

Hedgehogs do not seem to have made much of an impression on the common law, though they are mentioned once or twice. In a move to chill the heart of any urchinophile, Tudor statutes provided for payment for killing many creatures – including hedgehogs – for the preservation of grain. Under the statute 8 Eliz. c. 15, presentation of the head of a dead hedghog was to be rewarded with 2d (on a par with handing over the head of an otter; neither creature really being much danger to grain, one would have thought). On a more positive note, a letter of Lord Eldon notes the use of a hedgehog to catch beetles in a house: H. Twiss, The Public and Private Life of Lord Chancellor Eldon with Selections from his Correspondence (1844) 290. Hedgehogs make stereotyped appearances in modern IP law, and, in a boundary dispute case in 2000 (Smith v Kerswell) there was an allegation that one of the feuding parties caused a hedgehog to be put into the mobility scooter of someone related to the other … Otherwise, it’s a struggle to find references. And nobody seems to have done a critical reassessment of the legal aspects of Mrs Tiggywinkle or Fuzzypeg. Unfathomable.

Clearly, these understated but endearing creatures need some help in the PR department, so, even though it means agreeing with a Tory, I am all for this.