Let’s Call the Hedgehog ‘Tomato’!

There is a new baby giraffe at the Houston Zoo, and today I found out that they named her Asali.  This makes two “honey” babies for the Zoo – Asali means honey in Swahili, and Tupelo (the baby elephant) is named for the song Tupelo Honey. 

Names are not my strong suit (I believe I’ve mentioned this before) and this holds true with animal names as well.  The two pets I currently have were already named when they came to me (they were rescues) and my track record is somewhat bleak: gerbils named Frisky and Playful, a budgie named Pipsqueak, and fish named Claudio and Lysander.  (The fish were during my Shakespeare-name phase.) 

There are two and a half bright spots in my animal-naming history.  I named a tiny baby gecko Godzilla (I liked the irony) and gave a chicken the name Patty (yay for double meanings!) and I suggested that Tomato was a good name for a hedgehog.

Wait, you don’t get it?  Hedgehog = pincushion.  Pincushion = tomato.  Maybe a picture or two will help:

Hedgehog = Pincushion

Pincushion = Tomato


I thought it was a good idea for a name, but I was out-voted.  Oh, well. 

I’m not any better at naming characters, although I think I’ve come up with a cool technique for the dragons in my next novel.  Names are one of those things that I will probably always struggle with in my writing.  I come up with a few good ones (like Godzilla and Tomato) and the rest are failry bland and straightforward (like Frisky and Playful).

Fortunately the names aren’t the most important part of my characters – their personalities and adventures are what’s interesting.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tammy
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 13:54:18

    I had a hedgehog for years named Atari. Boy did he come with an attitude.


  2. Jarvis Cocker
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 18:04:54

    Tupelo, MS is where Elvis was born, right? As for hedgehogs- why does no one go with pop-culture and name it Sonic?

    Personally I believe names should roll off the tongue. They should be a delight to speak!


    • Leigh Townsend
      Mar 13, 2011 @ 20:24:39

      The problem is that *everyone* names their hedgehog Sonic – totally overdone. 🙂 Not sure about Tupelo, MS; I hadn’t heard of it before they named the elephant baby!


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