This is without a doubt the Undiscovery Channel’s finest production to date, and possibly the most gripping, action-packed 6 minutes and 14 seconds of film you will ever see.
Actually, all kidding aside, this is the closest I’ve ever been to a pocupine while it was feeding. Usually they’re at least thirty feet off the ground, and most often it’s after dark, so all I see is a fuzzy silhouette against the stars accompanied by the sound of chewing. This one, which currently resides in the crawlspace under my house, for some reason late this afternoon decided to snack on the ornamental cherry in front of my porch — only the second time that tree has been chewed on by a porcupine, I think. I discovered it there when I stepped outside to toss an apple core into the weeds.
There was barely enough light to shoot; you can see how darkness is falling in the last couple minutes of the video. A minute in, you can hear the clacking of teeth as the suddenly alarmed porcupine finally notices me standing there. And then it decides I’m harmless — not that very many things can harm a porcupine — and goes back to feeding. The camera’s memory card only allows a little over three minutes of video, so I had to go in and unload the first part before filming the second part, hence the break in the action part-way through.
Porcupines always remind me of something Tove Jansson, the great Finnish children’s author and artist, might’ve dreamed up. It’s gratifying to know that we still share the earth with such creatures. And as regular readers of this blog know, I feel a certain affinity for porcupines: fellow loners who really, really like trees.
Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).