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Old 08-22-2013, 08:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My Hedgehog is FLUORESCENT!

So I have a 395 nm ultraviolet flashlight, and just for fun I thought I would shine it on my hedgehog to see if he quills glowed. (I didn't expect them to) but to my surprise some of her quills actually glow a bright orange/pink color! Under normal light they look identical to the rest! Given that only a few are fluorescent and that they are in random places I can conclude that she didn't get anything on her that might fluoresce, and I don't have anything that fluoresces orange anyways!

Here are some pictures. They aren't the clearest but you can easily see which ones are fluorescent.

Here is her under normal light:
http://i.imgur.com/z7Q6gwC.jpg

And under my UV light:
http://imgur.com/z7Q6gwC,zObv7pR#1

Anyone else with a UV LED flashlight should try this out! I tried it with one of those UV lamps with the tube bulbs but it doesnt seem to work as well as with LED.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That is very cool! Totally need to check that out.

From mineralogy, my best-guest is that those quills have a higher calcite concentration for some reason? Manganese in calcite fluoresces orange, and calcite is a naturally-occurring mineral (it's what most seashells are made of). It might also be apatite, a mineral we grow in our bones... I'm so curious, and I totally want to take a few shed hedgehog-quills down for mass-spec.

Would you mind if I highjacked your photo to convince friends with access to the right equipment that something interesting is going on? I don't have a UV source to try it with my tiny friend at the moment.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ringworm glows underneath a black light.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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By all means use my photos! And if you could keep me posted on anything you find I would greatly appreciate it as I'm very curious about this too. Ill check the ingredients of her food to see if and of those minerals are listed in it.

I don't think its ringworm because there's no red crusty areas that I read are a sign of ringworms. And you can see that its the quill itself that is glowing, even if there was a ringworm inside the quill itself it would glow brighter at the center where the ringworm is.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Also if you wanted to get one for yourself, I got my UV light off ebay for about 4$ with shipping. Just search "UV flashlight" and you will get lots of results.
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Okay I checked her food, and it does have manganese in, not calcite or calcium carbonate but there is calcium iodide which is formed from calcium carbonate so perhaps there is some reaction taking place somewhere what converts the iodide to carbonate and then the calcium carbonate forms calcite.

Whats odd though is that only some quills glow orange. Even if those ones happen to have a higher concentration of the minerals you would thing the others would still show some glow from those minerals being present.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well, manganese is what gives calcite its orange fluorescence, so I'd say that's what it is. I, too, am curious why it's only a few quills, and I'm very curious if it's a general hedgehog-characteristic or not. Common, hedgehog-owners, take your small friend clubbing and get photos under the raver-lights!
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Old 08-23-2013, 12:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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One of my co-scientists suggests:
Quote:
Do hedgehog quills grow in and shed similar to hair with each one having a different starting time and a certain duration before shedding? If so, those might be quills that grew in during a certain time period.
So:
How old is your hedgehog? Any chance you're near a quilling, and those are the first/last quills to come in?

Alternately, I know hedgehogs keep losing a few quills occasionally over their lives, presumably because they've been replaced. So maybe it's indicative of quill-age, ones that grew in since the manganese-enriched cat food started? Or leftovers from switching off another one that had a different concentration?

Data! We need more data! Your little friend photographed under UV again in a few months, and any other hedgehogs. I'm so curious about this!

If this is from manganese: it is an essential element to growing bones, nerve function, and other various key-to-living tasks for mammals so it makes sense it's an additive in the food. I know in humans crazy-overdoses of it can leave to nerve function issues & depletion of iron/copper. Just adding this in since I don't think this is a dangerous scary thing, but people tend to get nervous when a particular chemical is named too many times!
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't know her exact age, but she's roughly 2.5 years old. I've had her about a year and a half and she's never shed any quills. She's been on this food for around 6 months, don't know if that's enough time for new quills to form.
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I can't think why none of you have stated the obvious: Mild-mannered hedgehog by day, SUPER HERO hedgehog by night!
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