If you’ve ever seen a hedgehog anoint, you may have been mystified by this behavior. What does it mean when a hedgehog is anointed?
In short, self-anointing is a way for hedgehogs to protect themselves from predators, parasites, and disease.
Keep reading to learn more about this interesting behavior and what it means for these little creatures.
What Is Self-Anointing?
Self-anointing is when an animal spreads a substance over its body for purposes of protection.
This substance can be anything from saliva to urine to feces. In the case of hedgehogs, the substance is usually secretion by the lizard’s glands.
Hedgehogs will often anoint their quills as well, which makes them even more unpalatable to predators.
The act of self-anointing is thought to serve two main purposes: protection against predators and parasites, and camouflage. When a hedgehog anoints itself with a foul-smelling substance, it makes itself less appealing to predators such as foxes, weasels, and snakes.
This gives the hedgehog a better chance of survival. The substance can also help to repel parasitic insects such as fleas and ticks.
Furthermore, the foul smell may help the hedgehog to blend in with its surroundings, making it harder for predators to spot.
Hedgehogs are not the only animals that engage in self-anointing behavior.
Other creatures that have been observed self-anointing include chimpanzees, squirrels, mongooses, and polecats.
What does self-anointing mean
When an animal smells a scent in the air and then covers its body with it, this is called self-anointing.
The behavior is usually reserved for when the animal is feeling threatened, anxious, or excited.
By rubbing the scent all over their body, they are essentially disguising themselves and sending a message to whoever or whatever they’re afraid of that they are not a threat.
What does it mean when a hedgehog is anointed?
Hedgehog anointing is a behavior exhibited by some hedgehogs when they encounter a new object or place. They will lick, smell, and sometimes even chew on the new object, sometimes for long periods.
There are a few different theories about why hedgehogs do this.
Some people think that they are simply investigating their environment, while others believe that the hedgehogs are tasting or smelling herbs or other plant matter to determine whether it would be safe to eat.
Still, others think that the hedgehogs are marking their territory with their saliva. No one knows for sure what the purpose of this behavior is, but it’s certainly intriguing!
Self-anointed vs Self-appointed
The words “self-anointed” and “self-appointed” both mean that someone has appointed themselves to a role or position. However, there is a subtle difference in meaning between the two words.
“Self-anointed” means that the person has appointed themselves to a role or position without any external authority or confirmation. For example, a king who appoints himself without any input from anyone else would be said to be self-anointed.
“Self-appointed” means that the person has been appointed to a role or position by an external authority. For example, if the president of a company appoints someone to be the new CEO, then that person would be said to be self-appointed
Self-anointing is a fascinating behavior that helps hedgehogs survive in the wild.
By anointing themselves with foul-smelling substances, they make themselves less appealing to predators and more resistant to parasites.
If you’re lucky enough to spot a hedgehog in the wild, keep your distance you don’t want to get too close to that quill!