Thank you so much to everyone who helped out by voting for Standing Bears hedgehog rescue on Brickfish.com! Lo and behold, he has entered yet another of their contests! Please vote again to help reduce costs at the rescue:
Shming the African hedgehog plays, swims, and floats. HE is 3 years, 7 months, and 11 days old in this video. YES, HE CAN REACH THE BOTTOM. If he'd had difficulty for a split-second longer at 0:33 one of us would have helped him up and, in fact, was about to do so. He was in no danger.
DO NOT try this with an inexperienced swimmer. Shming is an excellent swimmer, but you could drown one if you don't know EXACTLY what you're doing! Even the best swimmer should NEVER, EVER be left alone!
For those who are worried, here is a comment by akwekon (Z. G. Standing Bear), one of the most respected authorities on African hedgehogs:
"Hedgehogs are excellent swimmers and many take to the water with enthusiasm. Pet African hedgehogs are seldom exposed to water and may be timid at first but many really enjoy it once they are accustomed. Shming was cavorting about and flipped himself over when tired of floating - signs that he had everything under control. Only experienced handlers should ever try this and by all means NEVER leave a hedgehog alone in the water. Best wishes, Z. G. Standing Bear at The Flash & Thelma HH Rescue"
If you allow a hedgehog to swim, please monitor the condition of the ears to make certain no infection develops.
Do not make rude comments about his weight, as the circumstances have already been explained. He is on a prescription diet, which can not be changed.
Many people have asked how they can obtain an African hedgehog. This is not a matter to be taken lightly. They require special care and are very prone to cancer, as well as other diseases, and treatment can become expensive. Their care takes time and much research. Please do your research before you adopt ANY animal. Hedgehogcentral.com is a very good place to start.
African hedgehogs are "fad" pets. This means they are frequently bought on impulse, then once the novelty wears off they are often unwanted, neglected, abused, and even abandoned. Domesticated African hedgehogs do not have survival skills and would die in the wild, especially in colder climates because they cannot hibernate. "Release" is a death sentence for these little animals, whether it is by starvation, predators, or cold.
Hedgehogs are illegal in Arizona, California, Georgia, Maine, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Hawaii, and New York City. Even if you live somewhere I haven't listed, you should still check the laws in your area regarding exotic animals.