RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1867. Hedgehogs. Hardwicke's Science-Gossip 3 (1 December): 280.

REVISION HISTORY: Scanned, text prepared and edited by John van Wyhe 2002-8. Scanned again in colour by Angus Carroll 6.2011. RN5

NOTE: See record in the Freeman Bibliographical Database, enter its Identifier here.

[page] 280

HEDGEHOGS.—As in the August and September numbers,1 you have published an account of hedgehogs apparently carrying away pears and crabs sticking on their spines, you may think the following statement worth insertion as a further corroboration. I have received this account in a letter dated August 5, 1867, from Mr. Swinhoe at Amoy:—"Mr. Gisbert,2 the Spanish Consul at Amoy, informs me that when he was an engineer on the roads in Spain some years ago, he was fond of shooting and roaming about the country. He states that in the Sierra Morena, a strawberry-tree (Arbutus unedo?) was very abundant, and bore large quantities of red, fruit-like, fine, large, red strawberries. These gave quite a glow to the woods. The district in the mountain chain he refers to, is on the divisional line between the provinces of Seville and Badajos. Under these trees hedgehogs occurred innumerable, and fed on the fruit, which the Spaniards call Madrône.3 Mr. Gisbert has often seen an Erizo (hedgehog) trotting along with at least a dozen of these strawberries sticking on its spines. He supposes that the hedgehogs were carrying the fruit to their holes to eat in quiet and security, and that to procure them they must have rolled themselves on the fruit which was scattered in great abundance all over the ground beneath the trees."—Charles Darwin.

1 B.L. 1867 and A.B.F. 1867. See this letter also in Correspondence vol. 15, pp. 450-51.

2 Francisco Gisbert was Spanish vice-consul at Amoy until c. May 1868. Amoy is now know as Xiamen. Gisbert was later Spanish consul at Newcastle upon Tyne.

3 MadroƱo = Arbutus unedo, the strawberry tree.

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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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