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The Fretful Porpentine

Alas we forgot to close the garage door until long after the sun went down, and you know what that means, don't you?

No, not vampires, silly!

Porcupines.

So this evening I had the "pleasure" of removing a baby porcupine from the garage on a shovel. It was about the size of a very enthusiastic rat, or a half-grown house cat. The adult in question had already skedaddled. I don't think much of its Darwinian parenting skills. I could have brained the kit with impunity, poor bewildered little thing.

The first time I removed a porcupine from the garage it was a fully grown adult, about the size of a college student's back pack. I annoyed it with a rake (keeping the rake between me and it) until it decided that outside was more peaceful than inside. My two youngest girls (14 & 7) were looking on in saucer-eyed and gape-jawed fascination. They didn't remember to breathe until afterward.

Then the 14 year old spoke up, eyeing me with awe and concern.

"Ummmm..." she said. "Wasn't that dangerous?"

"I kept the rake between me and it," I said. "They aren't exactly gazelles."

Turns out that she was under the misapprehension that porcupines can shoot poisoned quills.

But for a brief glorious moment there, until I set her straight, I was Fierce!Fearless!Mom.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
wanderingsmith
Jun. 19th, 2010 01:28 pm (UTC)
Turns out that she was under the misapprehension that porcupines can shoot poisoned quills.
..oh dear.

But for a brief glorious moment there, until I set her straight, I was Fierce!Fearless!Mom
oh the temptation, lol

ah nature...
thothmes
Jun. 20th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
My father once had a Toyota Landcruiser (the '70's type that were really truly designed to go on safari), and when it was only about a month in use, he drove it up into a field in the wild where he was working on building a lean-to near his wife's family cabin. When he drove back to town, the lights wouldn't work. He took it to the dealership and complained that all their boasting about the off-road abilities of this new vehicle were bunk if a few little mini-saplings in a field were able to take out the wiring to the lights! What if he'd actually been on safari in Botswana instead of parked in a field in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom? What then?

They took the car in, and repaired the broken wires. The brought them back to show him. They opined that there were very few vehicles available world wide that had wiring designed to fend of the determined teeth of porcupines, and handed him the clearly gnawed wires. Dad went away sheepish but wiser, and bought enough chicken wire to make an enclosure for the Landcruser.
wanderingsmith
Jun. 20th, 2010 12:40 am (UTC)
LOL! that enough to keep them out? surprised they don't dig right under it. I remember even the chickens did that; kept having to check for escape/ferret *entry* holes.
thothmes
Jun. 20th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC)
I think that the wiring was basically a target of opportunity, and not a choice delicacy, so when confronted with the chicken wire, the porky decided that it would wander elsewhere. Now if he'd been keeping his collection of birch and willow staves in there, the chicken wire might have been considerably less effective...
wanderingsmith
Jun. 20th, 2010 12:51 am (UTC)
...rather yeah, lol!
sjhw_tolerance
Jun. 19th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC)
Great story. The most excitement we ever had were a family of possums. A porcupine sounds much more entertaining!
thothmes
Jun. 20th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
The baby porcupine was very, very endearing.

Around here, though, mine was an encounter with nature story from the tame end of things. Bears invading in search of birdfeeders are an all too common theme, and a few years back a local motel in town had a deer leap suddenly into the bathroom of one of their guestrooms. The guest was in. A deer, trapped, bleeding, and frantic in a room full of glass fragments is more excitement than anyone needs. It eventually managed to escape on its own.

For years I drove a Previa with a large dent in the front where the deer jumped in a single bound from the stream near the road about a mile from the house as I returned from Christmas with my family onto the center of the road. It was dusk, the road was icy, and I had very little time to react. I chose which side of it I wanted to steer towards, and applied the brakes, but the silly thing insisted on fleeing by leaping right to where I was headed. It shook itself off and limped away, but I have my doubts it survived the winter.
not_a_zatarc
Jun. 19th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
lol. That's awesome. No pictures? ;) As far as I know, we don't get the porkies here. Possums, skunks, and raccoons, though. Yeah, that's another matter altogether. ;)

Edited for bad, bad apostrophe. :P

Edited at 2010-06-19 03:25 pm (UTC)
thothmes
Jun. 20th, 2010 12:07 am (UTC)
Since it was about 12:45 a.m. when my husband got home and discovered the invasion, there were no pictures. My camera does have a flash, but I was more concerned with getting them out of the garage so he could pull his car in and get to bed before he had to be up again for work this morning.

Yes, that was a very evil apostrophe, wasn't it? ;)
not_a_zatarc
Jun. 20th, 2010 02:42 am (UTC)
Ah, yes. Priorities. :)
mrspollifax
Jun. 19th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
Awesome. And quite puts the time I won my girls' undying devotion by getting rid of a dying baby mouse to shame, lol.
thothmes
Jun. 20th, 2010 12:33 am (UTC)
The kicker? Turns out that Mama Porky has better maternal instincts than we gave her credit for. When my husband got into his car this morning, she was there, having spent the night in the garage. Where she was hiding is a complete mystery, because we'd made a pretty thorough search, but we think we finally have an empty garage now.

Love the icon, btw. I my kids loved the book too.
julimond1402
Jun. 19th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
LOL! That's awesome!
thothmes
Jun. 20th, 2010 12:39 am (UTC)
For years there has been this weird noise on select summer nights coming from the general direction of our little covered bridge. Kind of a combination of drumming, growling, and hissing. It may have been a combination of all three, because when I finally got curious enough to get out the headlamp and investigate, I found myself interrupting two very disgruntled porcupines in the early stages of courtship.

Basically, I said, "Ooops! Sorry!" and went back the way I'd come, but now when I hear that noise again, I know what it is and I can register it and then continue to pay attention to what I was doing in the first place.
bluewillowtree
Jun. 21st, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
Aww! At both the baby porcupine and your daughter's misapprenehsion. I don't think I've ever seen a porcupine in person, but I'm picturing a slightly bigger hedgehog and smiling at how cute I imagine it must have been :)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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