What Happens When Hedgehog Cheerleaders Fight

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This Sunday night might be the culmination of two weeks' worth of stories you've heard about the Harbaugh brothers at the Super Bowl, but there is a lesser known — and much cuter — tale brewing at the Puppy Bowl over on Animal Planet. Because this year's Puppy Bowl features a controversial new addition: hedgehog cheerleaders. 

Maura Judkis at the Washington Post wrote an exploration of how the Puppy Bowl's cute sausage gets made, and in doing so reveals a behind the scenes look at hedgehog drama. These, first of all, are not just any hedgehogs. One, Speedy, has won a gold medal in the Hedgehog Olympics, another, Henry, shares a bed with his owner. Immediately the hedgehogs do not like their tulle cheerleader costumes and leave them behind, content to roam in the buff. But a little hedgehog nudity is nothing compared to the hedgehog fight breaks out. These guys are the Nickis and Mariahs of cute animals: 

“This one’s a biter,” a volunteer says, pulling one hedgehog off the field. Hedwig quills up. Fischer, his owner, frets that the males will start to fight or mate. “Hedwig’s after the female,” she says.

There is screeching, and as predicted, a skirmish.

“Fight! It’s the white one!” a crew member shouts.

Fischer swoops in. “Did he start it, or did someone else?”

There is a foul on the field. Kleenex are summoned. The 69-person crew breaks for lunch.

Read more about the trials and travails of organizing the Puppy Bowl, including some diva kitties and, of course, adorable puppies. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.