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​Find past newsletter articles, press releases, and other media showcasing local agriculture, placed-based education, and conservation of natural resources in Sullivan County.

Why did the Porcupine Really Climb the Tree?

Each time I've seen a porcupine in my life, it has been connected to trees. I've seen them on trails while hiking, but they are always headed towards a tree and would quickly scramble up it. I would assume they are using the tree to escape from harm in these instances. I have done a similar thing when growing up in Florida. Our neighbor had a large sow (female pig). It weighed hundreds of pounds and when it got out of the fence, my brothers and I found a nearby tree to climb to get out of its way.

I have also seen porcupines in hemlock trees eating the needles. So I assume they climb the tree to get to food. Maybe they eat the buds and new leaves of deciduous trees as well as needles of evergreens. They apparently eat the bark of many trees as well.

I have seen porcupines in the base of large dead trees. They can den in wood or rock cavities and usually climb up into the hollowed out tree to sleep. The base of a den is covered in porcupine scat and quills.

The porcupines we saw during the all day hike (see other blog post from this month) were probably resting. They have long claws that help them dig into the tree to hang on as they climb and rest. Porcupines sleep during the day and are mostly nocturnal.


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