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Photo Information
Copyright: Rick Price (Adanac) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-02-18
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon Eos 300D Digital Rebel, Canon 100-400/4.5-5.6L IS
Exposure: f/8, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-03-29 6:39
Viewed: 2644
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This Porcupine was eating bark from this tree near Cypress Hills Provincial Park.
Common Porcupine
Erethizon dorsatum
General Description

By Gustave J. Yaki

If, in the deep woods in summer, you should hear what sounds like a human baby crying, it more than likely is a young porcupine. The two sound uncannily alike. Normally silent, Porcupines can and do utter a variety of grunts, moans, whines and wails. Adult males produce frighteningly loud screams during the mating season in late autumn. The gestation period is about 210 days, unusually long for a rodent. Like humans, usually only one baby is born. Its soft moist quills soon stiffen and become effective within minutes. Unlike humans, it eats solids and can climb trees within a few days; if necessary, within hours.

Porcupines evolved in South America. There, at least seven other species are still found today. When North and South America became joined together at Panama about three million years ago, some Porcupines came across the isthmus, eventually colonizing much of this continent. Next to American Beavers, which they resemble in shape, adult Porcupines are our largest living rodent. With short legs and a thickset body, about 90 cm in length and weighing in at about 9 kilograms, they shuffle along with a slow ungainly gait. Although often found far out in the prairies, their feet are well adapted for climbing trees. Strictly vegetarian, they eat almost any plant species, but prefer the inner bark of trees, especially Aspen Poplar, willows and spruce in our area. Most active at night, they tend to sleep by day; in summer often in trees, in winter wherever they can find shelter, preferably a den, hollow tree or log, or under an overhanging bank..

The most unique feature of Porcupines are the 30,000 inflated, specialized, loosely attached hairs on top of their head, back and tail. These sharp-pointed quills, up to 12 cms long, are equipped with backward-pointing barbs and are a most formidable defense against all predators except the Fisher, a member of the Weasel Family. These lightning-fast mammals attack the defenseless face. Other mammals rushing in to attack get a face or a paw full of quills. The barbs prevent them from being removed. Instead, they work forward, often lethally into a vital organ. The Porcupine soon grows replacement quills, ready for the next assault. Contrary to rumours, the quills are never thrown

bobair, MommaMiaX3, clnaef, jaycee, Alex99, vanderschelden, MMM, ramthakur, scottevers7, SkyF has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Maite: ThanksAdanac 1 03-29 22:45
To bobair: ThanksAdanac 1 03-29 22:18
To ramthakur: ThanksAdanac 1 03-29 18:04
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Critiques [Translate]

Hey Rick :)
Oh what a beautiful capture :) Great sharpness as always, and I'm loving the POV! You da man!


Hi Rick
Really cool guy, I like Porcupines :)
I think you can fix his face in Photoshop so vi can see how he/she looks :)

Très originale, cette boule de poils.
Bonne journée.

Well I learn something new everyday here...I never knew Porcupines climbed trees! geez I'm bad! Love the shot. good pov looking up at this pricky little guy.. TFS

Thanks for your comments on my photo "The Thawing of Lake Erie (8) " :o)

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-03-29 11:37]

Hi Rick,

What an unusual shot of a porcupine. Didn't know they climbed trees! I love the furry ball. Interesting picture - I like it.


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-03-29 12:40]

Hi Rick.
Amazing close-up shot with interesting POV. I like play of sunlight into the animal hair. Very good esthetic effect. Your DOF is great as well as the details of the tree branches and reproduction of the sky. Difficult for shooting scene and excellent execution of the shot. My compliments and TFS.

A Porcupine?
Never heard of. I'm ashamed of myself:-).
I wonder how the sounds really; can't remember my crying:-)
Well done, Rick

hi rick,
this animal is new for me, nice capture, i can see the shine in the eyes, nice composition
tfs & regards

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2007-03-29 14:09]

Hi Rick
I like your picture .Nice POV , I like the nice blue of the skie from your BG.
TFS Michel

Looks like a fluffy ball of hair, Rick, with just a suggestion of the face. It does not seem to have those famous quills, though. Is it waiting for a fresh growth of them or what?
We have this animal in India too and I remember collecting some quills in the woods to play around with them.
Thanks for sharing the image.

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2007-03-29 15:01]
  • [+]

Hello Rick
I wouldn't like this creature falling on my head. Even if those quills don't seem too stiff, I wouldn't dare to approach it. Nevertheless he seems soooo cute! You did a wonderful capture, indeed, with excellent sharpness, colors and composition. I like it very much.
My compliments and TFS.

I'm impressed with the detail and exposure you managed for this difficult shot. You managed to make him almost look soft... but I am not fooled. Nice work.

Thanks for sharing
Evelynn : )

Hi Rick,
in this picture you have caught this "porky" well, as most of the pics I see of them lack detail (here on TN) of their faces.Are these critters shy or aggressive?I ask because in all the years I have been living here in Alberta I saw only one and it was not glad to see me in the slightest.I like the detail in this pic and the gnaw marks in the tree branch are a nice bonus.I hope that your porky friend doesn't meet up with any face eating Fishers(nasty way to go if you ask me).TFS. Bob

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-03-29 22:15]

Hello Rick

Very well seen.Porcupines can be quite difficult to photograph.Very good POV and the freshly eaten bark on the tree limb is a very good addition.Well focused with sharp details.TFS


Hi Rick,
A very good shot on this Porcupine. This is how you see them so often. You did very well with the strong back lighting. Colors and detail in the quills is excellent. Nice shot!

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2007-03-30 18:00]

Hi Rick,
I was wondering what this porcupine does on the tree. Your note explains it very well. Nice capture the POV is great. Excellent sharpness and the colors are great.
Well done.

Hello Rick,
What a nice and strange looking creature. I wish I could see one in real someday :) Your notes will help me to identify if I have this chance. This animal looks so soft... I like the way the lightning hits it "fur" and this little light that you managed to caught in it eye. This is a beautiful picture with great subject :-) Thanks,

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