Porcupine Family Makes a Visit to the Sanctuary

What a gift to have such esteemed guests visit Three Sisters Sanctuary! Porcupines are often thought of as elusive animals, mostly missed on forest walks and not generally casually seen. To think that one would simply stumble onto your doorstep is a magical moment indeed!

The encounters started with a mature animal’s (I’m assuming it was the mother) first intrepid visit at 5am while I took my morning coffee. I looked down at the ground and saw a porcupine right next to me! It followed me down to the banks of the wetlands. I had never experienced a porcupine before, but the casual nature of the engagement was so surprising and delightful- an unexpected walking companion! 

Next came the ‘porcupettes’ on another morning as I wandered through the Sanctuary with my coffee. Walking towards the wetlands and gazing at the daylilies, I discovered a smaller, younger porcupine. Instead of walking down to the wetlands like the mother, it slowly climbed up a young maple tree. It seemed to wiggle its front paw digits at me while sitting on a branch. For twenty minutes it continued to entertain me. I decided to get another coffee and then come back to observe it some more.

I returned to see the young porcupine vigorously foraging on tender tree branches as is their daily habit since they are strict vegetarians and need to eat a lot of plant material to thrive. I had to get on with my day at this point, so I retreated and let it do its own thing.

Some days passed and I sighted the third one to come around. It was a bit larger than the second one, but still not full-sized. I found it hanging out in one of the evergreen trees by the new, large events area. It was later seen snacking away at different patches of grass, moving from one garden area to another. It grazed undisturbed for quite a while in the Butterfly Garden and several guests came to find me and tell me that there was a porcupine out there. Happily, the nature show wasn’t all for me!

A few weeks later, I sighted yet another young one close to the fairy containers in the Butterfly Garden. To my delight, it slowly walked up to one, crawled in and then laid down to rest! What a special moment for me to have created some respite for this wild creature in my own backyard. It truly enlivened my day and marked a very special moment- a highlight of a brilliant summer season that was drawing to a close. I later realized that the containers would make a great hiding spot to escape thunder and rain, and I hoped that they might become special little burrows for these wonderful creatures. 

Like most natural moments, the visiting porcupines moved on, but the special memories are a treasure that I will hold close to my heart for the rest of my life. Unforgettable.  For more information about these fascinating animals visit:
www.oriannesociety.org/uncategorized/porcupines-bark-eating-beasties-northern-woods/

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