Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fun with Nature, #16

What else would there be than to find another mammal living nearby, one new to us of course living here in the east.

While in attendance at a bonfire a few weeks back, one of the resident teens pointed to the field nearby alerting everyone to the fact a porcupine may come to visit as we tended to our dinner meals, keeping warm around the fire.

"A porcupine?" I thought.

I had never seen a porcupine in the wild before and wondered how many might be living nearby since this bonfire was only a block or so away from our own home.

Since that evening we've found out just as the black bear meander these parts upon occasion, so too do porcupines hover near, sometimes mothers and their young will settle in near a perfect tree setting for chomping on. Yes, porcupine love to climb trees and pull off the bark before munching on it. We have found evidence some are living even closer to our home than once suspected. Take a look at this tree....nicknamed "porcupine tree" by all the residents.

Our neighborhood porcupine tree

One day I'll be able to snap a photo of a porcupine because I'll be all ready, with camera in hand right? Actually I've found when noting something unique and new to me, often I freeze and I'm only capable of staring for a time instead of snapping a photo, like when I spotted a red fox waltzing from a residential home's driveway, a very hungry looking fox at that. Until such a time as I can take a photo of a porcupine though myself, we were able to get up close and personal with a family of them at our local zoo. Aren't they just the ugliest things?

Here are a few fun facts about porcupines;
  • This mammal is considered a rodent, just as a beaver and cappybara are.
  • A porcupine has 30,000 sharp quills and contrary to popular myths, a porcupine is not capable of shooting quills at his enemies, rather he must back up to his threat and stab it with them.
  • Porcupines have such a heavy tail they actually waddle like a duck when moving about.
  • In winter a porcupine waddles through the snow, making a wavy pattern behind him from a dragging tail too heavy to lift.
  • Porcupines love to dine on tender twigs, buds and acorns.
  • Porcupine scats are shaped like pecans, often several are connected together looking like a few beads of a necklace.