Has Anyone Here Touched A Porcupine?

They’re awfully cute looking but I was wondering has anyone ever touched one? If so what did it feel like? Has anyone ever to attacky by one? Or got some quills stuck into him/her by a porcupine?

Oddly enough, once when I visited the children’s zoo at St Louis, one of the zookeepers held a porcupine and we were all allowed to quietly approach and very carefully pet it.
No casualties while I was there.

I stepped on a dead porcupine once. Which was every bit as painful and unpleasant as you’d imagine.

I had a dog years ago who was half husky and half coyote. She had the strongest prey drive of any dog I’ve ever known. She regularly got skunked and would climb trees to try to get little creatures. She was happiest when she’d made a ground hog kill and would lay there in a trance and eat the whole thing. But even she knew not to go after a porcupine. She always gave them a wide berth.

I once did a necropsy on a porcupine during my pathology residency. I did manage to get a few quills stuck in my hand due to a moment of carelessness. The coolest part was seeing a histological section of the porcupine’s skin afterwards.

Once a porcupine was trying to cross a busy road. I pulled over and stopped traffic so it could get across. It seemed to be very touched at my gesture.

Insert ex-wife joke

Insert BMW joke

Yep - even eaten a belly-full of one (roasted) on a lengthy camping trip in Idaho. Handled with care, of course. Tastes like chicken :smiley: The quills can definitely be troublesome if allowed to be so, but it takes some ignorance to let them be an issue. Rubbing the wrong way is not recommended whatsoever…

The quills are actually quite interesting, IMHO…Ma Nature did a very respectable job in the Design Dept. I’ve had a couple of pet dogs return home after being accessorized by contributory porky’s, and I marvel at how well them rodents can donate their body parts to other species.

Petted a zoo porcupine. Snared and ate a porcupine when a friend and I were skiing for a week but forgot to bring food. Occasionally pull quills out of my neighbour’s dog’s nose.

I picked up a porcupine quill I found lying on the ground in Gush Katif.

Slight hijack: I’ve never even seen a porcupine, but I have patted an echidna, which looks similar, but has quills that are blunt and won’t stick in your skin.

I’ve found them rather easy to approach and touch in the wild - they seem to know they are not highly vulnerable and thus don’t need to put much emphasis on flight.

The quills are impressively sharp, but it’s easy to avoid problems with just a bit of care.

The judge won’t let me talk about it.

Gotta watch it - if they feel really threatened or annoyed they will wack you fast with their quill-covered tails, with highly unpleasant results (The myth that they can “shoot” their quills is in part based on this very real defensive move).

I’ve had lots of encounters with them, mostly due to their habits of chewing on plywood as if it were candy. Also, they will eat the rubber bits out of your car if you let them. Allegedly, they like the salty flavour.

Never touched a live one, though.

Reminds me of the age old question - How do Porcupines mate? It has to be quite a delicate experience.

I’ve touched them at the zoo. If they’re calm, their quills don’t stick out, so you can feel their fur. It’s extremely soft.

When I was hiking in October, there was a sleeping (we could hear him snore!) porcupine in a tree right above my head. I could have touched him, as he wasn’t very high, but I didn’t think it wise to startle a sleeping porcupine.

After seeing these pictures, I think I’d give as wide and as respectful a berth as possible.

Ask me again on Monday. I’ve just started a new job in zoo education, and we have a pair of prehensile tailed porcupines, who I’m going to start training with next week :slight_smile: This isn’t one of ours - but cute, eh? They are also VERY SMELLY, because (a) they cannot groom themselves well, being all over spikes, and (b) the boys have the unpleasant habit of peeing on their girlfriends.

Maybe? When I was little we got to pet all sorts of animals at a rehab place during a fieldtrip, and maybe a popcupine was involved too. It was so long ago I don’t remember. I know I’ve pet hedgehogs, but their spines don’t come out, so that’s not exactly the same.