Don’t Kiss What?!

Kiss Me? (Photo by Tadeusz Lakota on Unsplash)

Hedgehogs?  I was scanning the headlines on my search engine this weekend.  I found CDC warnings of the dangers of kissing hedgehogs.  Let’s have country girl fun today. 

Really?  People kiss hedgehogs? I’ve seen the cute videos of supposedly content hedgehogs in a cup or floating in a sink.  They are adorable and like most animals make me smile.  But kissing them is something I just don’t get.

I loved my dogs and cats.  I still didn’t like sloppy kisses from my dog, or scratchy ones from kitty tongues. “Blech! Blech!” I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the need to warn people to not kiss a quill covered creature.  Maybe it has to do with growing up in a rural area, or my college degree in biological sciences.  But I have a hard time kissing animals.

Photo by James Barker on Unsplash

Okay I understand loving pets.  I understand training them and having fun with them.  I’ve had dogs, cats, horses, chickens, black racers (yes that’s a common snake in Florida not a car), pigs, rabbits, goats, the list goes on.  We even had a large Indigo Snake living in our barn.  He was not trained.  He was wild.  Owning him is illegal so he owned our barn.  He had a warm place to live and we had fewer field mice in the barn.  The situation worked well for us.

Thank God he never dropped down from the rafters when we were in the barn.  Whew!  And the “he” is a guess.  In the several years we were aware of him, we never saw any baby or youth indigo snakes roaming in the vicinity.  I wasn’t going to check the sex of an eight foot snake.  Would you?  Snakes still bite and a large non-venomous one can still hurt you.

I grew up believing in the wild nature of animals, even if domesticated.  I loved Wild Kingdom and Ranger Rick.  When you live in the country you learn “real quick” to treat animals with respect.  Like try to kiss a horse on that soft velvety nose.  The horse startles, whipping her nose up knocking you in the forehead!  It hurts!  Especially if knocked back onto your tailbone (Hee! Hee! I can laugh at that now).  Maybe there should be a warning for horses too.  Being around them is kind of like slapstick comedy.

Warning! Slapstick Comedy may Ensue. (Photo by Ian Masters on Unsplash)

According to the news, eleven people have contracted salmonella by kissing their pet hedgehogs.  Wow!   Let’s get this out there.  Animals are not toys or babies.  They are animals.  They are happier when we respect them and their needs as animals.  In general babying them makes them insecure and unable to fend for themselves.  Huh! Kind of like people…right?  A subject for another day…

Here’s my practical Redneck Mama common sense:  Just because they are small doesn’t mean they can’t pack a wallop.  Animals don’t come with warning labels, even a small dog can pack a nasty bite.  Love your pets, treat them well, and let them be who they were created to be… themselves.  They will give you many years of joy.  But for goodness sake don’t exchange spit with them!

Have some fun today! Cheers!


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