Hedgehog business booms in Khartoum
Hedgehogs have been the talk of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, for the past week.
This is because of rumours that wealthy foreigners were prepared to pay between $200 (£130) and $18,000 for what are thought to be African pygmy hedgehogs.
The rumours also focused on the purported medicinal value of the animal’s spikes, some claiming that they were a cure for cancer and full of strong anti-bodies.
Another bizarre claim was that a liquid extracted from the nipples of a male hedgehog was an aphrodisiac.
Some even suggested that unmarried men and women would find marital bliss if they owned a hedgehog.
Suddenly sellers began appearing in the souks, roads and offices of Khartoum and Omdurman trying to sell the thorny animals.
Cynics thought it was yet another rumour, which gained traction on Whats App and social media, spun by the security forces to distract public opinion from more pressing issues at home, like the economy and corruption.
However, police began arresting the hedgehog sellers who inundated the capital.
One newspaper tried to get to the bottom of the rumour mill and discovered that it started when the owner of a golf course tried to rid their greens of a scorpion infestation.
Finding out that hedgehogs were good scorpion hunters, the golf course paid a local farmer $200 for one of the little creatures.