I received an email from a dear friend with the “Fable of the Porcupine” and some adorable pictures of a baby porcupine. Not knowing very much about porcupines I searched the internet to learn more. I was very curious if they also could be a pet. Much to my amazement there was a vast array of information on porcupines.
Of course National Geographic has a wonderful informative description of the porcupine. We all know that they are a prickly rodent, but did you know the Latin name means “quill pig”? There are about two dozen species that all have a coat of needle-like quills. Considering there are only two species of beaver, twenty-four porcupine species surprised me.
The quills usually lie flat until the porcupine is threatened. Their soft hair is mixed with sharp quills on their back, sides, and tail. The quills detach easily when touched, but do not shoot out as once thought. An encounter with a threatened porcupine may leave humans and animals with embedded quills that are difficult to remove. The quills will grow again to replace the lost ones. There can be as many as 30,000 quills on a porcupine. It would be a good idea not to threaten a porcupine!
The average life span of a porcupine is 5 to 7 years. There head and body is 25 to 36 inches, and the tail 8 to 10 inches. The weight can be from 12 to 35 pounds. A litter is between one and four. Babies are born with soft quills which harden in a few days. Within two months the young porcupines are ready to live on their own.
To read more visit the National Geographic site
Can they become pets? Yes they can!
A porcupine who thinks it’s a puppy! This 5 year-old porcupine was someone’s pet. He is romping around in circles and jumping in a desperate puppy-like plea for attention, even dropping onto his back for belly rubs.
The Huffington Post posted this video but also stated that at HuffPost Green they in no way condone keeping wild animals as pets. (We tend to agree in general, but there are always exceptions for the right animal and the right person and the right condition.)
Another “pet porcupine” story told of a little baby weighing about one pound sitting out in a field all alone. The people who found him wrapped him in a jacket and brought him home. Their only intent was to nurse him back to health, fatten him up a bit and then take him back to where they found him. The story was posted about 34 months ago, at that time he was almost a year old, ten pounds and a spoiled porcupine who was named Spike.
According to the owners he is a wonderful pet, very affectionate and loves everybody. His favorite friends are their two dogs and three cats. He interacts and plays with all of them like any other pet would. He is a lot of fun to have around and enjoys being petted. Spike has no idea what a threat is so therefore always has his quills down. Although he is nocturnal he likes to be awake when people are.
People have been known to have skunks, opossums, raccoons, monkeys, and many other wild animals as pets. Bottom line, you be the judge of whether or not you would like a porcupine as a pet! Anything is possible since porcupines are rodents and there are no laws against owning them.
Read the fable and you must admit that it’s a grand way to live.
Fable of the Porcupine
German philosopher Schopenhauer
It was the coldest winter ever – many animals died because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions even though they gave off heat to each other.
After a while they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: Either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.
Wisely, they decided to go back to being together.
This way they learned to live with the little wounds that were caused by the close relationship with their companion, but the most important part of it, was the heat that came from the others.
This way they were able to survive.
Moral of the story:
The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but the best is
when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities. Or perhaps the moral is all about living with pricks. 😛