Friday, September 3, 2010

Surprise Visit from a Porcupine

Sometimes when you are out taking pics nature sneaks up and surprises you. That is what happened to Michelle and I as we were driving through Necedah NWR, in Wisconsin, chasing after redheaded woodpeckers to photograph. We were driving down one of the dirt roads in the park when we some something large and dark cross the road a ways up. We stopped and found that what we had spotted was a porcupine. Porcupines are members of the rodent family. They are usually nocturnal which is why we were surprised to see this one out in the middle of the day. The North American porcupine is the largest of the porcupine species and is found through out Canada, as well as the north and western United States. The North American porcupines are good at climbing trees, this one was up a tree so fast we barely got a picture, where they forage for food such as fruit, leaves, buds and tree bark.

Porcupines are best known for the sharp quills which they have on their back and sides. They use these quills, a single porcupine can have over 30,000 of them, to protect themselves from predators. Contrary to popular belief porcupines are not able to shoot their quills, but if threatened they will stiffen providing a barbed wall of protection. Predators that get too close will often end up with quills embedded in their flesh. The porcupine will then grow back any quills that it loses. Porcupines are born with their quills but it takes a few days for the quills on the new born to harden.

17 comments:

Ann said...

we have lots of hedgehogs here. Are they the same family?

Denise said...

What an exciting discovery. I had no idea they moved that fast.

Fotobloggen 2010 said...

it's gorgeous and I understand you were surprised. Lucky that you managed to have some shots (I bet you took a few...)

JimB said...

Good-sharp shot of the prickly critter!

Jim

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

Nice capture. Thanks for sharing.

Kate said...

Well, good morning my St Paul blogger! Serendipity is always the best. Good information; guess we can't really call them "sharp shooters" now, can we?

Cecilia Artista said...

Wow so sweat the porcupine is! Lovely shot!

cat said...

What a sweet creature. Lucky you for getting that great shot :)

Eds said...

What a gentle creature. Nice shot! :)

Mine is here : Beauty of Nature

Misty Dawn said...

AWESOME! That is one critter I've never seen up-close before. You got a great shot of it!

ladyfi said...

What a lovely shot. They look so kind!

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

For such a difficult creature to spot, and because they are so fast, that really is a great shot. Thanks for sharing - We have quite a few in our area, but inevitably I've only seen sad, flattened ones in the road.

Roxxy said...

Oh I would love to see a closer look of this creature sometime..looks like so cuddly but you'll hurt yourself a lot if you do!hehe

joco said...

I have the same query as Ann: Hedgehog? Not quite, but close in appearance.

Jane said...

Aww so cute, he looks like he could be baby. Thanks for sharing Ecobirder:)

Slugyard said...

Nice find! I've never seen one in the wild.

Judy said...

You forgot the part about the quills continue to work themselves into the flesh of a predator, and can make their way into internal organs. Or, they can work their way out in the days and months after the attack.