Turtle Hill is home to a porcupine that I have named Po. Most of the animals that we share this property with are only glancingly visible, but this summer Po chose to spend much of her time near the house. She enjoyed grazing on clover in the backyard and didn’t care a whit that a little dog was on the other side of the fence.
I know that Po is female because a few times we saw her porcupette in tow (isn’t that the best term for a baby animal?) Porcupines are solitary creatures, and they don’t even spend a lot of time with their offspring. She nurses only once a day. A mamma will park her porcupette at the base of a tree while foraging for hours. As the baby matures, they go out at night together and she’ll teach her offspring what to eat and how to get by. By late summer they’re going their separate ways. So, mostly, we saw Po.
There is a field at the front of the house.
There is a line of 4 oak trees.
During the heat of this very hot summer, Po chose to spend her days in oak tree #1, which meant that we could watch her from our deck. I think that the breezes kept her comfortable.
Of course, the fact that there were snacks at the ready through the day was part of the appeal of this location!
By the end of August Po had moved on from oak tree #1. Occasionally we’d see her at night (porcupines are mostly nocturnal) foraging in the backyard, and we captured images of her on the wildlife cam that we have set up in the woods. I particularly like this screen shot of her plodding along with a leaf stuck on a quill.
Recently Po has returned to the oak trees. The leaves are no longer tasty, but the young acorns, still high up in the branches, are. She eats the acorn meats cleanly out of their caps.
I haven’t watched her do this, but I know that she’s there because of the nip twigs. (Nip twig is an official term. Almost as good as porcupette!) The base of oak tree #4 is littered with nip twigs.
You know that it wasn’t the wind that broke the branches off because you can see the angled chew marks.
I’ve looked and looked, but Po is not sleeping in the tree during the day. I guess that now that the weather is cooler she doesn’t need to splay herself high up on a limb.
Once a year I mow the field to keep saplings and invasive roses from taking over. I’ll do that after the first frost. Before then, I have to clear up Po’s mess. My little electric mower can’t handle nip twigs. Especially not the quantity and size that Po has been throwing down! So far, I’ve filled the dump cart up twice.
Who knew that when I left my garden and chickens that I’d still have to clean up after the resident animals?