Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Porcupine surprise!

I've came upon a porcupine in the wild - once.

It took me a few seconds to figure out what the heck I was looking at.

Shuffling along close to the ground and headed towards me on a trail in New Hampshire, in no particular hurry, at first I thought it was a dirty little dog, covered with burrs. Perhaps abandoned by its owner, or lost.

I could not really see the tail, and if you look at this photo, you might be able to imagine my confusion.

Once I figured it out, I could not believe it! Porcupine turned and waddled away, and I trailed for a while. Off he went into the forest, and I let him enjoy his life.

Yesterday on one of the Wyndham Land Trust preserves, one of the stewards came across a porcupine! He was excited, too, and in the brief video he took, you hear him say, "I have never seen a porcupine in CT!"

This rekindled my porcupine love, so I wanted to learn more.

This webpage was quite helpful and in part says:
"North American Porcupines are large, solitary rodents common in New England, but less common and rarely seen in Connecticut.
Porcupines are herbivores. Typical diet in the wild consists of tree leaves, twigs, buds, seeds, nuts, fungus and green plants. Evergreen needles and bark are eaten in the winter. A porcupine's usual diet does not supply much salt so they tend to crave it. They will obtain salt from aquatic plants or from road salt.
On the ground porcupines waddle along slowly and somewhat awkwardly. Their eyesight is very poor, they are quite nearsighted. "

After reading this description, I understand my attraction to porcupines. We have much in common (except for the fact that I am often seen in CT.)

I share this piece about craving salt, because sadly I have also spotted 2 dead porcupines over the last couple of years, up in Sturbridge on the side of the road near Wells State Park. Both times were during the winter, and clearly they were out for some road salt.

Nature and wildlife is around us everywhere in northeast Connecticut, and sometimes you just have to be in the right spot at the right time and looking in the right direction!

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