Saturday, April 17, 2010

New Jersey Porcupine

I have seen plenty of dead porcupines, after all they are nocturnal and slow, not a good combination for our fast paced world. But the only live ones I have seen were in Alaska. Imagine my surprise when I spotted one on Clinton Road early one evening.

I was creeping along with the windows down listening for birdsong from any early migrants when I drove past this porcupine along the side of the road. "Huh, porcupine, that's interesting," I thought to myself. I was less than a mile up the road when it suddenly hit me. "Porcupine! A live NJ porcupine!" I turned the car around and drove slowly back searching the roadside for it. I drove up and down several more times and was about to give up, when I finally saw it again. I got out of the car without closing the door, so as to not alarm it. As I approached, it raised it quills, then as I didn't come any nearer, lowered them again and continued munching on the tender shoots of wildflowers. It ambled around often aiming its prickly backside in my direction.

I often use Clinton Road because it cuts through the Newark watershed. It's great for birds and now porcupine viewing.


Anonymous said...

Great post. How lucky to see that beautiful spike-monster. I've never seen one live & wild, either. Glad you turned the car around.

deejbrown said...

WOW! I would have loved to have seen that little one! May it "live long and prosper!"

NJHiker said...

My wife and I saw our first live porcupine in New Jersey on Thanksgiving Day around noon. It was on Blue Mountain Lakes Road which is just north of Millbrook Village at the Delaware Water Gap. To our surprise it started to climb a tree. After it got about 15 feet up, it suddenly fell, hitting the ground with a loud thud and staggered away.

Anonymous said...

I saw one off trail at The Atlantic County Park at Estel Manor. We're talking South Jersey. I approached it as it was clammering up a tree. I followed the sound to investigate, and saw this spikey critter with big, curled claws and a little head trying his best to climb away from me. Watched him for a good ten minutes, but he refused to come down. Truly a treat to see this guy all the way down here.