Saturday, January 24, 2009

almost a prickle

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There are now two porcupines in my hemlock tree (resulting in five pictures in this post). If a third porcupine joins them, there will be a prickle of porcupines. If I had more time, I would study them for hours.

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They are spending both day and night in the tree. They chew the branches and litter the ground with the bits and pieces that they drop.

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They are the second biggest rodent living around the riverrim, the beaver is the biggest.

I don't know if they are male or female, they look alike to me,and I'm not getting any closer to check private areas.

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They sometimes make little sucking noises, or crying sounds. They are very shy. If you look at their cute button eyes, they seem as if they are kind innocent little creatures....unless, of course, you ask them to smile pretty for the camera....

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did you know that porcupines have orange teeth?

22 comments:

Phiala said...

I've seen lots of porcupines, alive and dead, but have never seen their teeth, and had NO idea that they were orange. Wild!

pacalaga said...

Those are some seriously ugly chompers.

Leigh said...

Fascinating! I'd want to watch them for hours too. Great photos Cyndy.

Manise said...

I wonder if pine sap stains their teeth orange. Maybe some funky bacteria. They are curious creatures all the same. Great photos.

cyndy said...

Yes, I thought much the same thing about those incisors--

The porcupine has 4 incisors..just like a beaver. There are a set on the upper jaw and a set on the lower jaw.

Rabbits or Lagomorphs have 4 upper incisors...the second pair being posterior to the first. It is a good way to tell the difference between rodentias and lagomorphs...(up until 1912 they were classified in the same order)

I remember learning about this when I got my first angora bunny!

If you want to read more about porcupines..here is a good link...

http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/cwp/view.asp?a=458&q=150832

cyndy said...

And yes, orange really is the natural color of their teeth!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wow, I have never been this close to a porcupine. They are so intersting. Those orange teeth are peculiar. I would never have guessed orange.

Jody said...

Never knew they have orange teeth! I didn't realize that they climbed trees either. I thought porcupines were slow movers.

The Gingerbread House said...

This post taught me a couple of things about porcupines,Orange teeth and they climb trees. I wouldn't care to get any closer to them ..Ginny

finnsheep said...

Very interesting neighbors!

Valerie said...

Have you had trouble with them killing saplings by girdling them? That's been a problem on our friend's property in northern Mi. It's a very old farm that he's trying to reforest.

Tam said...

Yikes!

cyndy said...

Valerie-

I have noticed some saplings that were girdled..but not around here, ---in the woods, yes. Some places consider the porcupines a pest. I think we have enough predators to keep them in check around here (bobcat, coyote and owl feed on porcupines)

I've also read that they like salt a lot...and will chew on anything that has human sweat in it...like a shovel handle...or even shoes!

I thought maybe the salt lick on my bunny hutch could have been attracting them, but no...it is the hemlock tree. They are eating away at it!

Sharon said...

They are amazing! We don't really have anything like porcupines here in australia. Its facinating to read about such a different animal. The orange teeth a great! Love them!

Judy said...

I would rather have the porcupines as neighbors than your bobcat!

fiberjoy said...

Excellent close-ups! They certainly have a face similar to the beaver. I have never seen a live one up close. Dead, yes. Once carried one home on horseback so Ed could use its quills.

I didn't know they climbed trees!

Joanne said...

Wow. I have never seen a porcupine alive in the wild. Amazing. Thank you for these images! (and yes, the orange teeth threw me for a loop!)

This was a pretty fabulous post, Cyndy!

elizabeth said...

That is so cool! They're cute! Maybe not as cute as bunnies, but cuter than I would've suspected!

Artis-Anne said...

Oh gosh what amazing photos I didn't realize that they climbed trees!! and as for beavers !! how lucky are you . Every time I have been to a zoo I want to see the beavers but they are never out :( Guess I need to go at night ?

Dawn said...

They are considered a very bad pest here in NS, and are responsible for the ruination of many trees. Years ago, there was such a large population of porkies here, that wolverines were brought in from the far north to lower their numbers. Have you found their den yet? One look will be enough as they are very dirty den dwellers.

Cathy said...

Dawn's comment about porky dens was fascinating! I know that porky's bear one baby and that the female shows her heat cycle by playing with sticks. Maybe your hemlock tree is the red light district of the porky world! (LOL)

annmarie said...

against all the grey and white, those orange teeth are certainly eye-catching! wow, what you never knew that you *didn't* know, right?

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