We were driving along the road back to Jackson Hole in the van, minding our own business, when over the intercom we hear “uh, Kevin…remember that porcupine we saw in the tree last year? Well it’s back.” Kevin’s reply; “cool Sean…let’s stop and look.”

Gosh I wish I hadn’t felt so crummy that day, I might have actually trudged into the field to take a better picture of it. But alas, the cold germs were doing their duty and I stayed in the van…I did manage to get a shot of it from afar.

lump of quills
lump of quills

Despite a fuzzy head I learned something that day. Porcupines climb trees. Porcupines sleep in trees. Porcupines eat trees. I had no idea. But it makes sense. If you’re gonna go so far out of your way to get away from predators, why not munch a little bit while you are there? I think in the second picture you can see the stripped bark on the branch above the sleeping blob. Also, (s)he’s so close to the road because, once again, (s)he wanted to conserve energy and it is easier to walk on a paved road than to plow across a field. Besides, predators tend to stay away from roads, especially during the day. So (s)he’s safe. Not so warm, the wind was howling along this road, but (s)he’s got a great coat.

Now if I could just see one actually climbing…

12 thoughts on “prickly

  1. Wow!! you do learn something new every day! well I will be buttered on both sides!!! fantastic pics…just love it 🙂 hoep the bugs have left the building and that you are feeling better 🙂

    1. thanks! I take that as high praise…amazing what you learn on a natural habitat tour…complete with guides who are enthusiastic naturalists and lots of time to listen to their teachings.

  2. Yup, they love eating bark. And anything that’s salty… like old used shoe leather, or the handles from an axe, etc.

    My wife and I saw a mama porcupine and her little ones on our honeymoon back in 1990, just outside of Yellowstone. We were literally within touching distance, but didn’t because of the quills. They were completely unconcerned by our presence.

    I also used to carry some porcupine quills in my wallet as a boy when we lived in Idaho. Not smart. The quills eventually burrowed through the wallet leather and destroyed everything they touched.

    1. I have a basket by a woman named Joanne Russo that has porcupine quills in the top. I’m not sure I would put them in my wallet but I have heard that boys are not that smart. 🙂

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