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Porcupette Clarification

porcupine3 IMG_3065Naturally Curious blog reader Catherine Fisher provides a more complete and more accurate description of the relationship between a porcupine and its offspring.

Uldis Roze, who has spent a lifetime studying porcupines, describes a lactation period of, on average, 127 days – or slightly more than four months. While it is true that, from birth on, mom leaves her youngster alone during the day while she rests nearby, she nurses the the porcupette at night and, as for its first six weeks her youngster is too weak to travel far and is unable to climb, she never travels far . Once the porcupette is strong enough to travel and climb, it spends three months following mom and learning where food trees are located. After three months, mother porcupines and porcupettes begin to spend occasional evenings apart, and by December, separation is complete, leaving the young porcupines to, as Roze describes it, “set out energetically to survive the biggest test of their lives: their first winter alone.”

5 responses

  1. Alice Darlington

    Thank you for the additional information as I wondered how the porcupette could nurse if it was already on its own. Adorable photo!!!

    May 20, 2014 at 3:48 pm

  2. I love these characters, except if they get into the starting bed of raspberries (which are now effectively fenced!) My neighbor, however has lost his sense due to a porcupine raid in his wide open greenhouse greens……

    May 22, 2014 at 12:18 pm

  3. Susan Sawyer

    Mary, I saw a mama and little porcupine last week, crossing the road. Mother was almost across and baby was about ten feet behind — I stopped the car, and the mother continued into the brush. The little one chickened out and returned to the woods on the other side. I drove on, so it could rejoin its mother safely. What a treat!

    May 27, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    • Fantastic, Susan! I’ve come across a wee one, but never could find its mother…would love to photograph both together!

      May 27, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      • Susan Sawyer

        I would have at least gotten a crummy photo if I’d had the presence of mind, and gotten out of the car — but sometimes when things are fleeting like this, I just watch. I hope you do see a pair together some lucky day!

        May 27, 2014 at 5:42 pm

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