They’re kind of cute in a bizarre way (there are some adorable videos on YouTube of pet porcupines acting affectionate), but you’re right, they are strange. However, they pose little threat (except to too-inquisitive dogs), so if you ever have a close encounter, treasure it. My mother once had a near-sighted porcupine bump into her — she was crouched down in the middle of a trail looking at something with her hand lens, and a porkie waddled up and literally crashed into her butt with its nose. She yelled, turned around, and they both back-pedaled — the porcupine more rapidly than her — with no further mishaps.