Friday, July 18, 2008

Mr. Porcupine

It seems that a young porcupine has decided our front dooryard is just the right location in which to take up residence. Some nice bushes to crash under and a lifetime supply of yard to munch on. Needless to say it's uninvited presence has caused a rift in the fur bearing dynamic of our household. Bob, our always cranky Tom cat is not happy. Growling and fussing more than usual, he is letting everyone know, including the moving pin cushion, that his routine has been upset. From a safe distance of course. Bob may be mean, but he is not stupid. Stubb on the other hand is numb-er than a bucket of pounded thumbs. She is all about finding out as much as she can about Mr Porcupine. Of course this curiosity is not acceptable to me as I have paid dearly in the past for the curiosity of a dog when confronted with such a slow moving object as a porcupine. Annie, our long dead St Bernard mix almost ate my hand once when I tried to extricate some quills from the back of her throat. I just know Stubb won't be happy until she comes home with a mouthful of porcupine quills.

This rush to judgement may not be fair to Stubb. To this point in her short life, she has not come home whimpering looking pitiful with quills sticking out of her muzzle and buried hard in her throat. But she is a dog after all. And the track record for mutts here on Sam Page Road has not been good. It seems no dog of mine can resist the temptation of this true oddity of Nature. I am guessing to a dog without a clue, porcupines are the perfect playmate. They move faster than turtles, but not by much. That they are some of the stinkin-ess animals out there must be olfactory heaven to a dog. And when I hear my daughter say they are cute, I know to a dog, their intimidation index cannot possibly be tracking in the high numbers.

I am in a quandary here. On the one hand, I do the best I can to accommodate the various wild things that happen to live nearby and often use my yard for whatever it is they want to use my yard for. But this critter is messing with the flow around here. The routines of a house with 7 cats and one dog get out of whack and brother, the ripples can be a bitch to deal with. Nothing more rigid and inflexible than pets. So I sit here and wonder what to do.

Moving a porcupine out is not a task taken lightly. I would be well within my rights to pull out the shotgun and blow it's prickly ass away. They are one of the traditional "kill on sight" animals in our parts. Their history is fraught with run ins with the logging industry. They can do serious damage to money trees. One porcupine can kill a tree in a very short time as they dig out it's heart searching for bugs, grubs and other delectable wigglies of the forest.

I won't shoot it though. No money trees here and at this point, Mr Porcupine seems content to be the helpful yard guest by eating my lawn. So shooting it seems damn inhospitable. But it cannot stay long. I do not want a big vet bill to deal with. Stub is no intellectual giant. She will decide to get up close and personal. A dog cannot resist. As proof I offer this picture of a dog who could not resist. And continued to not be able to resist.


Missy Glave said...

Oh my good gracious ... that is one scary situation for that dog!!

I hope you find a remedy to your problem before Stubb encounters the same thing ... yikes!

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

One evening in the summer of 1976, we returned home after Mass to find a crowd of neighbourhood kids surrounding our front doorstep. They informed us as we got out of the car that a porcupine had come out of the woods nearby and was hiding under the step (which was made of concrete; the refuge beneath it was out of reach of most humans). A few of the bigger kids were talking about "going home to get a baseball bat" and then come back to "take care of" the porcupine. But my father shooed the kids away, and the critter waited everyone out. From a safe distance, we kiddies took a look at the porcupine, and I remember feeling thrilled to see a real live porcupine, not just anywhere, but at my house. (We lived in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.)

Sometime later, when no one was around or looking, Mr. Porcupine hurried back to the safety of the woods.

Anonymous said...

Crummy, why not just live trap the critter? And send him off elsewhere. Oh, and how you know it's a Mr.?
( Now this I gotta hear. )

MRMacrum said...

Well Prester John, our visitor has decided to move on of his own accord it seems. So the disruption and almost overwhelming excitement of the last 2 days has finally settled down. All the outdoor critters can now settle into their usual paces and usual spots.

How do I know Mr Porcupine was a him? It was the AC/DC Tee Shirt and the mullet I guess. And he was humming "Big Balls" when I first introduced myself.

Gary ("Old Dude") said...

Truly Ugly pictures, the visuals of the dogs after a meeting with a porcupine---(very disturbing visuals)---glad reading your comments to lern the critter has moved on to different parts.


Snave said...

Owwww, it hurts to even LOOK at that last picture, let alone think of how painful it must have been for the dog!!!

Anonymous said...

we were staying in some cabins at a camp in oregon, near the Snake River, and a porcupine kept chewing on the side of the cabin. Dad shooed him away but he kept coming back. then he started chewing on the door. My dad got up, flung the door open as hard as he could, making the porcupine fly a little ways off into the darkness. I think he left us alone after that. I really like porcupines, but I pity any poor dogs that tangle with one.