They are a peaceful creature, really. Although you don't want to mess with them. With 30,000 plus quills that easily detach from the porcupine and just as easily get stuck into whoever has their nose in Porcupine's business, they come well armoured. Quills have sharp tips and overlapping barbs that make them very difficult to remove once they are stuck in another animal's skin. Meanwhile, the porcupine will just grow new quills to replace those they expend, and life goes on. Not always for their attackers, however, as the barbs will work the quills deeper and deeper, and there have been cases of even cougars dying from a quill that worked its way into a critical internal location. We are hoping that Taffy will show some sense, and leave this prickly chap alone.
|nice smile :)|
Porcupines use their large front teeth (our model was happy to show us his) to satisfy a healthy appetite for wood. They will peel off bark, nibble on stems, and snack on buds. Fruit and leaves are popular menu items as well. And they do adore a pumpkin if they can get one.
Since none of that is very high in salt content, they will invade campgrounds and chew on paddle handles or anything that has been handled by human salty hands. (or seats -- it's not uncommon to return to a camp in the spring and find the outhouse seat nibbled away)
If our porcupine would like to come down and chat, we could hand-paint his quills into the 41 different colours that are part of the PanAm 2015 mascot, Patchi. This number was chosen to represent the 41 different countries competing. Why they went with a porcupine, who is very happy just hanging around, to be the mascot for a totally physical athletic adventure eludes me, but so it goes... I suspect our resident porcupine will be watching the games at home with his paws up and a nice snack on his plate. But then, his 30,000 quills would take too long to hand-paint anyway.