I’m not making this up but Sigmund Freud once said, “I am going to the USA to catch sight of a wild porcupine and to give some lectures.”
Disregarding what this might say about Freud’s kinks, it does reveal the fascination with these huge, spiky rodents.
We got a way too closeup look at a HUGE porkie yesterday when we were running Opie and Molly at Bear Creek Camp.
As we were nearing the Sanctuary, saw – with my problematic eyes – what looked like a great grey rectangle in the middle of the road.
The dogs, of course, scented it first and took off. As my sight cleared I could see it was a giant porky, in full defense mode with its back and tail toward us as it tried to lumber off.
I now know if you scream at about 140 decibels you can at least get Blackie and Brownie to think about not impaling themselves. They got close but, luckily, we were able to snag them before Molly got her second batch of quills in her snout and tiny Opie got impaled on porky’s back and taken for a ride.
Since porkies are nocturnal and normally in trees in the day – the only place I have ever seen them before – I can only surmise that the large number of hunters at the camp yesterday, scared porky down from its tree.
And, as Josh Billings pointed out, I have a lot in common with porkies: “A witty writer is like a porcupine; his quill makes no distinction between friend and foe.”
Some porky facts from a site “for kids,” which is a perfect comprehension level for me.
Porcupines are lumbering, rotund rodents with needle-like spikes, called quills, covering their back, sides, and tail. A single porcupine can have more than 30,000 quills, which are actually sharp bristles of fused hair. When another animal attacks the porcupine, its quills detach, burrowing into the adversary’s flesh and inflicting painful, potentially deadly wounds.
It’s easy to tell when porcupines are mad: They stomp their feet, hiss, and shake their quills, which normally lie flat against the porcupine’s body. While porcupines are rarely aggressive, they’ll defend themselves by charging or swatting their spiked tail at opponents.
Porcupines are herbivores, eating leaves, plants, fruit, and the tender layer of tissue beneath the bark of trees. A porcupine can fell a whole tree if it removes too much bark. The head and body of a porcupine is between 25 to 36 inches (60 to 90 centimeters). And the tail can add another 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters.