‘A kind of rat with thorns’: the comic book busting myths about the Madras hedgehog

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The elusive nocturnal creature is rarely seen in Tamil Nadu. One ecologist has made it his mission to spread the word through colourful adventures

The brightly coloured panels of Brawin Kumar’s comic book tell the story of how two children rescue a hedgehog from an unlicensed medicine man. The mother hedgehog is delighted to be reunited with her little one, as she has lost most of her offspring to road traffic.

Kumar, an Indian researcher and ecologist, came up with the idea of writing the book in Tamil to create awareness among children who live in and around the Madras hedgehog’s habitat. Many of those children will never have seen the nocturnal creature, which, unlike the British hedgehog, aestivates (lies in a state of torpor or dormancy) in the summer instead of hibernating in the winter.

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