Category Archives: Porcupines

Porcupine Removal

My son called the incident many things, including porcupine removal, a science experiment, a learning experience, and doing me a favor.  I called it “being stupid.”  I love my son.  He’s fourteen, adventurous, intelligent (usually), outgoing, and . . . did I mention adventurous?

It started when my husband and I noticed some of our wooden-handled tools had been chewed, along with some other items we keep in our storage shed.  In fact, one of the walls of the shed had been chewed down.  We also found some shallow holes dug throughout our back yard, and one of our trees had claw marks on the trunk and some of the bark had been pulled away.  We didn’t know what to think, until my husband heard something in the middle of the night, and walked outside to find a large porcupine waddling around.  He told us about the culprit over breakfast the next morning.

My son was thrilled.  My husband was not.  My husband called a porcupine removal service, which promised to send out a technician later that afternoon.  I looked at my son’s face and realized he was sorely disappointed he wouldn’t get a chance to see this porcupine up close.

But, when he and his friend got home from school that day, they hunted around the backyard looking for any signs of the animal while I was still at work.  They not only found signs, they found the animal itself.  The porcupine was resting in a shallow hole underneath the wooden deck stairs, and it was not happy to be disturbed by a couple of overanxious teenage boys.

My son and his friend decided to “do me a favor” and do “porcupine removal” themselves.  In truth, they really wanted to watch the animal in action and see what it would do.  So, they scared it up out of its hiding place and followed its wobbly walk all over the yard, preventing its escape when it headed for the back fence.  Finally, the boys got to see what they really wanted to see.  The porcupine quills all stuck out, and the animal turned around so its hind quarters were facing its predators, almost daring them to attack.

My son reached out his tennis-shoe clad foot and prodded at the porcupine’s tail.  The tail twitched out of the way, but the animal stood its ground.  My son got a little braver, and his foot actually touched the porcupine’s rump.  Sure enough, a few quills stuck into the rubber sole, much to my son’s delight!  Now, he could study these quills up close.

The boys retreated slightly to look closer at the quills embedded in the shoe, and the porcupine turned its head around to check to see if they were still there.  Sure enough, my son and his friend were still there, but they were so intent on pulling the quills out of the shoe that they didn’t see the porcupine run towards the fence until it was too late.  It was gone.  Technically, porcupine removal and my son’s science experience had been successful, but I was just grateful there was no damage to the boys other than to the shoe.

Porcupine Problem

Ah, night, the perfect time for me to come out and cause all kinds of porcupine problems.  I’m really a very gentle creature, despite the quills, but for some reason, people don’t like me very much.  I think I’m pretty cute, with my little precious face and my tiny little paws, and my quills all laid back when I’m happy.  But, destroy a few trees, dig up a little yard, and all of a sudden you’re the bad guy.

Really, it’s not that big a deal.  It’s just your trees are so perfectly wonderful to eat.  I just can’t stop myself when they’re young and tender like that.  Sure, a few trees die because my gnawing leaves them prone to disease, but a porcupine’s gotta eat, right?  And, those tender vegetable plants in the garden.  That was so very kind of you to spend all that time and money planting those and taking care of them so that I could have a tasty treat when I emerged from the woods onto your property.  You assumed they were eaten by rabbits, and I was happy to let rabbits take the blame.  But, I guess at some point you figured out you had a porcupine problem.  I wonder what gave it away.

Oh, it might have been that wonderful plywood you’d stacked by your shed.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted that and waddled over.  You people create the most wonderful things to eat.  That laminate glue that holds each plywood layer together is just so delectable.  What a delicacy.  I just gnawed and gnawed on that all night long until most of it was gone.  I think that may have been when you realized the tree girdling and destroyed garden plants was my work instead of some other creature.

I did not enjoy your dog’s presence the night after the plywood incident.  I guess he was supposed to scare me off, but he just came right at me like he was going to attack and eat me, so I had to defend myself.  All I did was stick my quills up.  I didn’t throw them, I can’t throw them.  So, it was your dog’s fault, really, to end up with a mouth full of quills.  I feel bad for the guy, I really do, but I couldn’t just let myself become dog food over a little plywood incident.  He’ll live.  It’ll be painful for a while, but he’ll live.  And, lucky for me, so will I.

I gotta admit, the tool shed is looking really intriguing.  I might have to investigate it tonight.  I’m hoping to find some sweat-soaked wooden handles I can chew up.  Mmmm, salt!  I can’t get enough of it.  I’m sorry you think you have a porcupine problem, but your property is just so darned inviting.  I think I might dig up against the warm foundation of your home and set up a den.  It just seems too perfect a place to give up right now.

Porcupine Removal

As a vet, it was one of the worst cases I’d seen of porcupine quill removal gone wrong. The poor dog had abscesses all over its chest, muzzle and even his tongue.  The skin was more sensitive where the pus-filled cavities lay just under the surface, and warmer to the touch. His body was trying to fight off the little pockets of infection, but it was obvious the dog was in pain.

His owners had tried to remove all the quills with pliers at home after the boxer had chased the porcupine down and tried to catch it.  All he got was a face full of quills.  The family had calmed the dog down, and attempted to pull each quill out one by one, figuring the remaining barbs would work their way out.  Unfortunately, they didn’t know the barbs are shaped in such a way that they usually work their way inward, forming abscesses and sometimes working their way in so deeply they penetrate organs.  Yes, dogs are tough, but quills that keep working their way inward into the body are painful, no matter how tough you are.

The owners had thought they had a deer problem, and had no idea they needed porcupine removal.  They noticed the bark was pulled away from the bottom of the trunks of their trees, and many plants in their beautiful garden were eaten.  They had found portions of the wooden handles of their tools gnawed away, teeth marks in one of the support beams on their children’s playhouse, and holes in one of the tires of the four-wheeler.  It never occurred to them that these were all caused by the same animal, the porcupine.  Porcupines love to chew on wood, and anything salty.  The four-wheeler’s tires had salt from the roadways salted after a snow storm and attracted the spiny animal.  Once their dog came yelping to the back door, impaled with over 200 quills around his mouth and chest, though, they finally figured out they had a porcupine problem.

They’d held the dog down, gotten out a pair of pliers, and started tugging.  Not a pleasant experience for the poor pet.  Porcupine quills are like feather shafts, and can splinter if handled incorrectly.  And, when some of the quills broke, the barbs just started working their way in deeper, eventually causing a great deal more pain and infection.

I had to put the dog under anesthesia, just to get him to relax the muscles enough for me to pull each quill out.  We scheduled an ultrasound and later surgery to remove the quills that had moved in deeper.  Fortunately, the quills hadn’t gone in so deep as to touch any organs.

I recommended the family not attempt porcupine removal themselves, as it might end up as disastrous as removing the quills themselves.  The best way to ensure the job is done right is to call a professional.

Get Rid of Porcupines

get rid of porcupines
As winter approaches, I shudder and wonder if there is any way I can get rid of porcupines.  It seems hopeless for me.  I’ve watched them throughout the spring and summer, the large ugly rodents rooting around, eating whatever they can find.  They’ve eaten away most of the vegetation now, and there aren’t many choices left now that winter is coming. 

            Night is beginning to fall, stars are just starting to peep out, and life is quiet here.  The breeze washes over me.  It’s colder now and I shudder slightly.  I try to enjoy the solitude, the peace, the changing of the seasons.  I remember the summer:  children playing, picnics, tire swings, birds nesting, the warm sun and delicious rain.  But I can’t stop thinking about those monsters roaming around, free as they please, hungry, always hungry, gnawing, ever chewing.  They are a danger to dogs, cats, over-curious children, but so often they forget how dangerous they are to me.  Again, I try to forget about my fears and remember the beautiful times.

            I began to relax ever so slightly, when my nightmare with beady black eyes appears before me.  The breeze plays along its quills and it lifts its nose, snuffling a little in the evening air.  My mind races and I can’t move.  How can I possibly get rid of this porcupine?  In my terror, I cannot think, and I am helpless, frozen and rooted to the spot as it shuffles toward me.  It touches me, and I almost lose all consciousness.  But, I am just not that lucky.

            It circles me and then faces me, baring its teeth.  Each long tooth gleams in the first rays of moonlight.  Those awful teeth never stop growing, making the creature desperate to gnaw on my flesh.  I am horrified as it leans towards me and slides its teeth into my skin.  It chews and tears and rips it away, piece by piece.  I am powerless, and each minute is an eternity of terror.

            Strong claws grip into me, and it climbs even higher up onto me.  It reaches a tender limb and slices it cleanly off.  I desperately try not to think of slow death as disease enters into the stump of a limb.  Strip by strip, limb by limb, the porcupine chews, gnaws and slices pieces off of me.  Minutes are hours in my pain, but finally it climbs down off of me and waddles away in search of food.  It is satisfied and hungry.  I quake with what is left of me.  I have a long winter ahead of me, and I can only pray that some human will get rid of the porcupines and let me rest in peace.