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Porcupines Marking Dens

3-25-15 porcupine den IMG_9681Often, at this time of year, porcupines stake out their den trees (if they’re not inhabiting rocky ledges) by eating patches of inner bark, or cambium, with the exposed fresh inner wood announcing their occupancy. Typically, if a tree den is used year after year, they gnaw off a portion of bark each year, sometimes eating the old, scarred portion which, due to previous chewing, lacks cambium cells, indicating that this behavior is not for the purpose of obtaining nutrients. (photo: porcupine chewing near hollow tree den entrance)

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One response

  1. This is very interesting, because small rodents do this, too – red squirrels and flying squirrels gnaw around the entry hole. In that case, it’s thought to ensure that the scarring won’t close up the hole.

    March 25, 2015 at 9:53 am

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