An Unlikely Encounter with a Porcupine

Porcupine EncounterIt was October 18th, 2011. The sun played peek-a-boo, ducking behind passing clouds and cheekily popping out again like a gleeful child. Bulbous shadows floated across the lawn in tandem with their fluffy white counterparts above. I absorbed the sights as if they were harmonious sounds, the clouds providing a strong bass line as melodious bursts of golden light trickled through the pines.

Then she arrived, hopping and bopping through this symphonic space like a tuba in the strings section. From a distance, she looked like a ground hog, or perhaps a beaver. But, no. She was a beautiful little porcupine.

Climbing the hill toward the house, she took a turn past the dog yard – which sent the dogs into an ear piercing cacophony. When she redirected, I grabbed my camera and followed with a wide birth letting the zoom bridge the gap.

Through the woods, we clamored over rotten tree trunks, rock walls, and through a maze of maple saplings. Leaves crunched under our feet – my footfalls in whole notes, hers adding a layer of syncopation. When she stopped under a wood pile covered in grape leaves, I circled around at a distance. It was my hope to head her off and see her precious face after following the spires of her tail this far.

Porcupine FaceWe both sat quiet and still until that syncopated pace began once more. She was headed straight for me, although her poor eyesight sheilded me from view. I zoomed out as she drew near and hit my widest camera setting with her face still filling my view finder. My blood grew cold. I was really that close.

Taking one slow step back, the snap of a twig alerted her to my presence. We both froze for several minutes, her quills poised. Face to face in those moments, I watched with respectful curiosity. My pulse slowed as my muscles released. She winked and breathed. A sense of peace washed over us both. Then she turned and went on her way. I thanked her for her time and skipped across the sun speckled forest floor toward home.

This was my first up-close encounter with a wild porcupine, and it wasn’t my last.
For more adventures, be sure to visit my next post…


  1. Amy@GoPetFriendly says:

    Wow – I remember your posts to Facebook back in October. I’ve never seen a porcupine so close. They’re really cute!

  2. Wow, what an amazing experience! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  3. Cool. I had an up close encounter with a skunk once. I thought it was my cat in the garage. Luckily I got away without being sprayed.

    • If you’re ever not so lucky, Amy at has a great solution to the stink factor. She keeps it in her iPhone in case Buster and Ty ever get hosed again. LOL.

  4. Oh, what a cutie pie! Is it wrong that I love that prickly little ‘pine? I know they could “quill” me but seriously, it might be worth it to hang out with such a cutie.

    • You’ll see in the stories to come, but a wildlife rehabilitator picked up this little princess with gloves that didn’t reach her wrists and, as the quills touched her skin, nothing stuck. Just makes me want to hug ’em all the more. Oy.

  5. Wow, you got a good image of her! Porcupines are so intriguing!

    • They are! I had no idea whether she’d turn and try to back up into me, or if porcupines don’t do much of anything since their body provides an armor of sorts. Turns out, they’re absolutely peaceful creatures. There’s no need for anything but!

  6. Nice to meet you! That porcupine sure is a cutie! I probably would have been a bit nervous to get close, mostly because I’m not sure how quickly a porcupine can barrel into my shins.

    • Nice to meet you too, Helen! Thanks for dropping by.

      And as for porcupines, they do move rather quickly but, I’ve learned since, usually in the opposite direction. They tend to turn their back with quills raised. It’s then on the predator to continue pursuit or not. I’ve heard some say that they can shoot their quills, but that’s absolutely myth. I’d say there’s no real danger at a healthy distance.

  7. What a cool video!

  8. I wish I could meet a porcupine!
    Thanks fur sharing, what a furry cool viedo!!


  9. I adore this video – the soundtrack is just perfect too. I can’t believe you were so close – what a great moment.

  10. How cute – it makes me *almost* want to reach out and touch her. Loved the music!


  1. […] enter a less pleasant chapter in the revelry of my budding porcupine friendship, as chronicled in An Unlikely Encounter with a Porcupine, Return of the Porcupine, an Apple Fest and Porcupine, Fawns and Turkeys – A Winter Woodland […]

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