Hedgehogs are dicks. Avoid them.
A hedgehog will roll itself into a ball when a fox approaches, which suggests to the fox that a hedgehog is worth eating because that worth eating ought to require some effort to obtain, though this is not true and is a false assumption on the fox’s part.
Hedgehogs are passive aggressive animals this way, and highly performative.
You will be able to name a couple of people at least in your own life who are like the hedgehog. You are probably doing so now.
The goal of the fox will be twofold. First, to get the hedgehog to unroll. Next, to consume the flesh of the hedgehog but from the underside, where there are no spines, and only that portion.
Remember that a fox does not have hands. It isn’t like in cartoons where some foxes do have hands, which can be chagrining if you care about verisimilitude.
Without hands there is no way to remove the spines of the hedgehog.
But first things first.
The fox attempts to get the hedgehog to unroll by urinating on it. The hedgehog lies still, all but daring the fox to eat it as it is.
When the population of voles decreases, foxes become desperate. Thus, the fox is considering what it ordinarily would not wish to consider.
Think of it like being at a low point when it would be preferable to have better friends and people, but you do not have better friends and people, so you make due with what is available.
No matter how much what is available may suck.
You say, “This is only for now, it’s not forever, make the best of it, you’ll encounter people more worth your time later. And after all, such and such is not that bad.”
For the fox without the voles, that hedgehog in the ball is the such and such.
The hedgehog knows—it’s not an idiot in everything—that the fox will likely tire of waiting for the hedgehog to unroll and move on to somewhere else in the forest.
Maybe it will gnaw sticks and twigs to curb hunger or trick the stomach, through the act of chewing, that it is receiving nourishment.
Foxes, as they say, are bright.
But even foxes have hours of desperation, doubt, and confusion.
You think it’s just the poet who laments, “Oh, so it has come to this”?
Don’t be a d-bag. It’s not just the poet.
And have you ever really known a poet? I mean an actual poet? Not some soy latte-guzzling tosser who writes shit no one can understand?
This is not always what happens with the hedgehog and the fox.