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Porcupines Foraging For Acorns

10-12-16-porcupine-20161011_4950If you live near a stand of Red Oak trees, your chances of seeing a Porcupine this fall are greater than average. At the end of August, when the apple supply has dwindled, Porcupines move on to important new food sources – acorns and beechnuts. While American Beech trees in central Vermont have not produced a bumper crop of beechnuts this year, Red Oaks are experiencing a very heavy mast crop. These acorns provide sustenance for many animals – Black Bears, Red and Gray Squirrels, Eastern Chipmunks and other small rodents, White-tailed Deer and Wild Turkeys, to name a few.

Porcupines are typically one of the first acorn consumers, as they are able to climb oaks and eat the acorns before they drop and are accessible to many of the other animals that are limited to foraging on the ground. If you see the tips of branches nipped off with acorn caps (but no acorns) still attached lying under an oak tree, it’s likely that a Porcupine has been dining in the tree and discarding branches after scooping out and eating the acorns.If the tree is large, the Porcupine may reside in the canopy for several days. (Thanks to Emma for photo op.)

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4 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    What a gorgeous porcupine!

    October 12, 2016 at 8:34 am

  2. Sweet capture, Mary. I’ve been noticing clipped leaf bunches on the ground, but assumed they were squirrels. I’ll have to give it a closer look.

    October 12, 2016 at 10:38 am

  3. Judith Walls

    They will even climb over a six foot chain link fence to do so, as one of my dogs unfortunately learned recently. 57 quills in mouth and muzzle!

    October 12, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    • Wow! I didn’t realize they’d go to that extreme!

      October 12, 2016 at 1:06 pm

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