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STD Hedgehog

Severe Tyre Damage for our spiny friends
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Mother nature has equipped hedgehogs with a fine prickly defence against predators. Evolution, however, has not yet caught up with modern developements such as the motor car, leaving these poor creatures vulnerable to squashing on the roads.

I suggest we redress the balance by giving nature a helping hand. Selective breeding or genetic manipulation would probably do the trick. The object is to improve the spines, and underlying support structures, to the point where they could shred a car tyre, rather like the 'stinger' devices used by the police. Our spiky brethren could then cross the highway in perfect safety.

A further benefit would accrue. If the hedgehogs could be trained, they would form a valuable, self propelled ally to the forces of law and order, in their ceasless battle against crime. They could be taken out to a suitable location by police hedgehog handlers, or even deployed by helicopter (on small parachutes). Their training would then take over, and they would march into the roadway, forming an impregnable barrier to the fleeing criminal.

Mickey the Fish, Aug 31 2000

The Hedgehog Song http://discworld.scifi.pl/songs.html#jez1
Why they don't have STDs. [bookworm, Aug 31 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

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       Oh, you mean THAT kind of STD....
centauri, Aug 31 2000
  

       Of course. Nothing to do with telephones.
Mickey the Fish, Aug 31 2000
  

       I think the unstated connotation of hedgehog as viral carrier is better, or at least more amusing. Why do so many of you call them "tyres?" Is that an English English thing?
f_kedge, Aug 31 2000
  

       Yeah, a UK English thing. They can't spell anything right over there...   

       <grin, duck, run.>
StarChaser, Aug 31 2000
  

       Oh, it would work, all right... think of it as mutually assured destruction.   

       People don't run over them on purpose, but they don't take much care to avoid them, either. If running over a hedgehog would destroy my tires, I know I would be very careful to avoid that. I'd even be likely to invest in hedgehog warning devices and support taxpayer-funded incentives to build tunnels for them to use.
egnor, Aug 31 2000
  

       If the hedgehog were crossed with one of several cold-blooded species, we'd have a marvel! (A) Snake: the skin would shed, and patch the tire with slipper of ooze. Bandit vamoose off the road! (B) Blue Crab: the animal would shuffle back and forth waving a huge claw before the bandit well in advance of being run over. The visual equivalent of the 'warning shot'. (C) Clam: the hedgehog survives its mission. Nuff said.
reensure, Nov 11 2000
  

       maybe make the spikes brightly colored (cross-breed with a parrot?) Also useful for sending criminals "canned messages."
nick_n_uit, May 02 2001
  

       Hedgehog mines ? Fragmentation tortoises ?
8th of 7, Jun 13 2002
  

       but it might give them a biological advantage over other animals, and offset the ecosystem. If there are any animals that eat hedgehogs, they might not be able to access their food anymore. and what about squirrels? we are going to give hedgehogs special treatment and continue to run over squirre
dingbats247, Aug 15 2002
  

       could we breed turtles with spikes like these too?
senatorjam, Aug 15 2002
  

       Police departments can use these little guys in place of spike strips to slow down criminals in flight. And like police dogs, they can be tended to by the officers themselves. And like police dogs after several missions they can be retired (NO PUN).
MadMax's Brother, Aug 16 2002
  

       If you can train something to be good, you can train them to be bad. Just wait until the enemy countries hear of this plan, then what will you do? We would have to get Hedgehog Bomb Shelters. They could breed a very large group of ill-mannered 'chogs and drop them at will... It could be a very ugly scene. Or we could avoid the whole 'tyre' slashing completely and just transplant a microchip in their tiny little critter minds and keep them off major roadways. And if all else fails, get a heavy duty dooty scooper for those inavoidable collisions with our prickly friends.
flamebroiledgoodness, Nov 21 2002
  

       Echidnas have better spikes than hedgehogs and can do some serious damage to a tyre if they get run over, ofcorse it still kills them dead but atleast they can get some kind of revenge.
Gulherme, Nov 21 2002
  

       Once, I drove past a freshly road-killed cat on the highway. I stopped, got out of my car and went back to see if it was still breathing (I'd have taken it to an emergency vet). While I was scrutinizing it for signs of life, it was pancaked right in front of my eyes by a huge BMW SUV and flung 8 ft into the air. I was traumatized.   

       Personally, I'd do anything in my power to avoid hitting an animal on the road, as would most drivers. The problem is that animals are generally evolved to be camoflaged/inconspicuous, a trait that is no longer the advantage it once was.   

       I suggest a massive program of capture and release of hegdehogs and the like. Each animal would be tagged with a reflective jacket. Predators don't have headlights (except Rednecks and Hillbillies) and it should help reduce the death-toll.   

       I realise that Rednecks with pickups would be a greater threat. In areas where hedgehods and other creatures are tagged, we'd have a driver training program:   

       Inflatable dummy-hedgehogs with tire-shredding spikes inside would be placed by the side of the road. Drivers would see the reflective strips and be able to avoid them, but those that went out of their way to hit the dummies would be taught a lesson in road ettiquette.
FloridaManatee, Feb 06 2003
  

       I'm not so sure about mixing 'Inflatable dummy-hedgehogs' with Rednecks and Hillbillies. Especially if the latter are O/Ding on bathtub whiskey & moonshine.
dalziel, Feb 07 2003
  
      
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