What you are looking at is the business end of a porcupine. I have only seen a few porcupines during the 40 years I have lived in Canada. They are generally nocturnal, but do sometimes roam around during the day.
I saw this one last Sunday along the logging road leading to the Goat River Trail. By the time I got my camera out, it was already heading for the bush, so I was not able to get a shot of his face, but then again, its all these 30,000 spiny quills that make the porcupine interesting.
I have heard lots of stories about porcupines and dogs. The unfortunate canines that try to attack a porky, will soon have a face that looks like a pincushion and dog will have to unfortunately have all those quills pulled of his face, one by one, by someone using a pair of pliers.
The other porcupine stories you hear are about what they eat. They crave sodium, which is found in salt and as a result, things like plywood ( the glue), sweat soaked handles of wooden tools, and tires seasoned with road salt become some of their favorite meals. They chew big holes in plywood, and things like outhouses built in the bush have to have to be lined with metal around the base, to prevent the porcupines from eating the plywood.
Often, people camping or hiking and have left their vehicles parked overnight in the wilderness, have returned to their trucks to find that a porky has eaten it’s tires and brake lines, leaving them stranded and a long way from home. People in the know often wrap their vehicles with wire fencing to keep the porcupines from doing damage.
I have also heard that in places it is unlawful to kill porcupines. Because they are slow moving, they are considered a good emergency food source for people lost in the bush. I don’t know if this is true or not. At any rate, the porcupine is another interesting critter that lives up here in the Robson Valley.
Take a look at my paintings at: www.davidmarchant.ca