by Christopher O’Keefe
I’ve seen this guy (or gal) a lot lately on one of the local hiking trails. He is a North American porcupine. The name is not that flattering, it means “quill pig” in old French. When I first saw him, he would just curl up in a defensive posture. He has hair but he also has some pretty nasty quills that will stick you if you get too close. My friend Monica is always cautioning me about getting too close. He can’t shoot them but if he sticks me, they will detach from his body and be stuck in my leg (or other body part).
The past few weeks we’ve become a bit friendlier. He does not curl up anymore when he sees me. In the video, you can see him actually walking towards me…and me backing up. I guess I was close to some branches he wanted to nibble on. And that is his food; he likes to chew on the ends of pine branches and other woodland vegetables.
He actually has naturally occurring antibiotics in his skin in case he falls out of a tree and cuts himself on his quills (ouch!). It sounds funny, but this is supposedly a regular occurrence because they climb trees to eat the branches. As you can see from the video, he is not the most graceful of animals. But we are buddies…although there is no hugging. He is the cute but not so cuddly type.
See also the movie with a Star: “The Porcupine”
By the same Author: Pilings
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