Last week, this porcupine was sighted on a ski run at Beaver Creek in Colorado:
Scores of people were in the area watching the Junior Olympics ski race, but luckily no one got spiked with this critter’s quills. The animal was reported to be lumbering across the snow, moving in slow motion in the middle of the day.
Porcupines are generally nocturnal animals, which means that you’ll most likely encounter a porcupine at night as it forages for its food. In North America, they can be encountered either on the ground or in trees. Contrary to popular myths, porcupines don’t shoot their quills at predators or at others who startle them; it’s only possible to get barbed by porcupine quills if your flesh comes in direct contact with them, in which case they’ll detach from the porcupine’s body and then be stuck in yours.
Here in Colorado, it’s more common for a dog to have a painful porcupine encounter than a human because dogs don’t understand how a porcupine’s quills work. Humans generally know that it’s best to stay clear of a porcupine…except these guys from “Call of the Wildman” who apparently don’t know how to treat an animal kindly or don’t know that a porcupine’s quills can cause infection…
If you see a porcupine in the wild, please do a better job than the Animal Planet guys, and give it plenty of room to move along peacefully. And if you’ve somehow managed to get barbed with a porcupine’s quills, follow the advice in my article on the About.com Survival Skills website:
“How to Survive a Porcupine Encounter”
Porcupines are medium-sized rodents well known for their ability to defending themselves by depositing barbed quills into their attackers. But contrary to common myths, porcupines can’t launch their quills at you, and they’re more likely to run away in avoidance of humans than run towards you in attack mode. Nonetheless, if a porcupine deposits its quills into human flesh, the result can be painful and infectious, so follow these guidelines next time you stumble upon a porcupine in order to survive an encounter…click here to continue reading…