happy saturday, dear ollee n bee ~

meet porky ~ a most beautiful, kinda shy porcupine who came dining in our tree this past november. 

i thought i would introduce you to him/her after a story miss anna told me yesterday during a lovely afternoon visit. she relayed to me the most unfortunate incident her brother's dog had with a porcupine which resulted in a most unpleasant vet visit with the removal of over fifty quills ~ o u c h !

i hear these stories and oh, how i feel for the pup who thinks they can overpower poor ol porky who wants nothing more than to be left alone to dangle from the flimsiest willow branch, nibble tender bark ... or as in this case, feast on crabapples that grow amidst a hawthorn bush (where no other creature dare go!)  

other than the odd quill here and there, our dogs over the years have seemed to learn early how to respect porky.  our family learned to respect and admire the porcupine as well, thanks to my dad. he taught and showed us that the porcupine is just a gentle, docile creature who never has intentions of hurting anyone ~ only of protecting him/herself. 

they do not 'shoot' quills, but rather turn their backsides to their attacker ~ and oh my! for a fairly roundish, waddling animal, they can turn on a dime if need be! the barbed quills only release when pressure is put on them, such as the open mouth of a determined dog.

one time we had two adult porcupines and a baby one living on our property. (don't ask how they do the baby thing, i don't know ; ) one day when my dad was here feeding the birds, one of the adult porcupines was enjoying the birdseed that had spilled on the ground. he/she didn't seem to mind dad coming along ... and ... didn't seem to mind when he bent down and patted their little head! could. not. believe. it. oh, but not to be petted a second time, around turned the porcupine in defence position and then eventually moseyed away, probably displeased his lunch had been interrupted.

what was really sweet about that family of porcupines was the little grunty whistle sound the baby would make. enough to melt your heart, i'm telling you!

unfortunately, porcupines do do a great deal of damage to trees and with that many in the yard we felt they would soon devour our entire bush (well, at least put a great deal of stress on the trees). so, we got a big cardboard box, coaxed them in (one at a time) and loaded the box on the back of the snowmobile relocating them down the valley to the river.

kinda like 'the cat came back', they always seem to make return visits. a few years later, in 2005 this old fella found our dandelion patch to be irresistible and didn't mind in the least when the boys hand fed him! if you notice in the second dandelion feeding, he has successfully chewed off the heads of a 'bouquet'. as long as you aren't threatening them, or have a dog yipping in protest, they are so, so peaceful. not a peep.

it actually was tricky to photograph his sweet little face as it is his/her (how do you tell?) nature to turn their back in warning. but here, he/she is giving us a darling little peek around the branch, complete with a droplet of drool from munching those juicy crabapples.

after completely stripping the tree of the crabs, this porky (we name them all the same) has left for 'greener' pastures. you never know if he/she may return for springtime dandelion salad!

porcupine love,

. . . 

five | three.sixty.five

. . .


Jenni said...

I never realised how big they are! Great shots.. I love their sweet face.

S. Etole said...

You are so brave! I have one eating the bark from the trees but it hasn't come close enough to photograph.

Marcie said...

These are amazing!! I have to think - yes - that you are very daring to have gotten so up close and personal. And - such sweet..sweet...sweet images!!!

Bee said...

lovely, lovely story. and great pics! xo.