A Prickly Parable

If Facebook stats can be believed, then recent video of a myopic porcupine encountered during a Festival of Nature field trip has gone viral – or at least viral by our Facebook page standards.  In just a few days, this spiky member of the rodent family has had 5,575 views  — over 250% more than the next most frequently viewed post in our Facebook page history! If you haven’t seen it yet or want to see it again, check it out: RidgesSanctuary_porcupine

Porcupines do like to hang out in shady places like forests where trees offer them protection from predators, so it’s not exactly surprising that they make their home in the Sanctuary.  They are nocturnal though, so to encounter one on the trails during mid-day is a bit unusual.

Thick, stiff quills notwithstanding, these guys are actually pretty shy.  They’re herbivores, so they sometimes get a bad rap for their tendency to munch on trees; but in truth, by feeding mostly on common tree species and nibbling on treetop leaves, they bring more sunlight to dense forests, encouraging more diversity.

So what have we learned?  They may not see well, sometimes fall out of trees and can inflict some pain when threatened, but given a chance (and some respect) on a cool, clear day in May, porcupines can make us smile and remind us how truly remarkable Nature’s creations can be.

And besides, their offspring are called porcupettes.  How darn cute is that?

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