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Cultural Programme Week 28

Dear friends of culture in the Centro,

When I recently walked my dog at night along the outer wall of the cemetery, a rustling under a thuja pointed out a living creature. The first thought here on the island is usually: a cat! But this little animal was smaller and rounder, then revealed itself to be ... a hedgehog!

My childhood associations with hedgehogs were always leaves, meadows, earthworms and hibernation. Everything that doesn't really exist here. 

And so it was only later that I learnt that a species of hedgehog from North Africa, which thrives in dry areas, had at some point spread to the islands of Fuerteventura, and from there presumably to Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Exactly when the "Algerian hedgehog" (Erinaceus algirus) found its way to us remains unclear. There are indications that it can be assumed that it originated from a pair of hedgehogs. 

The Austrian ornithologist R. von Thanner wrote in 1913: 

"In 1892, 2 hedgehogs (I pair) were brought to Fuerteventura by a man named Franzisco Garcia, who was employed in a factory near Cap Juby (opposite coast of Africa). They reproduced very quickly there and are the progenitors of this species. Unfortunately, these animals are all killed by the inhabitants as soon as they get hold of them. They are regarded as major pests of the maize crops. As the inhabitants are only used to seeing the damage - but never the benefit - of each animal, everything is destroyed.

I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that the hedgehog is often described by Fuerteventura as a 'rarity' and gift to other islands. As the inhabitants are great friends of all things new, the animal is generally marvelled at and it and its owner are the talk of the town. Once the curiosity is sufficiently satisfied, the owner forgets to feed the animal and nolens volens the spiny animal has to find its own food. It is easy for the animals to get lost and so one or the other island will probably be populated with them. (...)"

Humans and hedgehogs are close in a special way...

Have a wonderful weekend!


Mikaela Nowak 


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