Dance of the Porcupine

My latest battle with the critters on the backside of my mountain involves a massive porcupine. I’ve drawn the ‘porcupine‘ card before in this poker game and the results were humorous if not terribly fruitful. Critter warfare is becoming a recurring theme in my posts.

Porcupines, for those who don’t have them as neighbors, are slow, wood eating beasts. They can destroy a deck in a matter of a week’s worth of feasting; young trees near said deck are also a delicacy. They are the armadillos of the north with barbs.

PorcupinePhoto Credit:

In the past I have resorted to wasp spray to deter them. Side note: it doubles as burglar deterrent with its handy 20 foot range of goo. This time I decided to consult the experts so I Googled “how to get rid of porcupines.” There are three ways;

  1. Fencing ( seriously? the whole 7 acres???)
  2. Trapping (Yeah, not my style. Where would I then take the critter?)
  3. Chemical deterrents (like mouse poison but admittedly not very effective)

This grumpy relative of a hedgehog lurking around my back deck seems drawn by the blackberries; a thick bramble grows on the rocky slope. He or She is every bit as large as Alice; I’m guessing 50 pounds of stupid prickliness. I haven’t managed to get a shot (literally and photographically) of her/him but trust me, I know critters and this is a big one. When ‘frightened’ which takes a lot of noise and commotion, she/he will lumber up the nearest tree, quills waving and nasty toenails scratching loudly. This is a pissed off being under the best of circumstances, a real kill joy.

In my googling (now a verb) I found many fascinating facts including the following which would the a relationship ending trait in my world:

 Female porcupines give birth to a single baby after an elaborate mating display by the male. This display is much like a dance, and is only performed by the winning male if a fight over the female was initiated. At its conclusion, the porcupine dance involves the male spraying urine over the female’s head. During the mating session, both male and female porcupines will flatten their quills against their bodies to prevent injury to one another.

Like getting a little poke would be the worst thing that could happen?


16 thoughts on “Dance of the Porcupine

  1. We’ve had a few porcupines in the yard over the years. They really seems to like the apple tree. I’ve watched them feast on the fermented apples on the ground. Luckily Diesel has only tangled with one once. Sounds like in their world, flattening down their quills equates to safe sex!

  2. We have been battling critters this year too! So far we have skunks, rabbits, ground hogs, deer, chipmunks, moles and rats! The neighbors have free range chickens and we get the rats! So far no porcupines!

  3. Pingback: Dance of the Porcupine – FINDING.MY.WAY

  4. I never imagined porcupines ate decks! We had raccoons wrecking havoc in Virginia. I’m sure porcupines live around here but hope never to see one eating my deck! Horrors! I’d rather have a mischievous raccoon any day.

  5. Who knew porcupines were so big and ate wood? The biggest critter to invade my garden is next door’s cat or the odd fox, neither of which do much damage (although a fox did once steal one of CJ’s trainers from the doorstep). Ants are definitely our worst pest, I’m sure my house is built on an ant hill, and they get into everything and dig up plants.

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