Tag Archives: porcupine control

Porcupine Control

I think the porcupine believes that if we can’t see it, we won’t suspect we need porcupine control.  We have a porcupine that loves our yard, our trees, our shed, even our car.  And, for some reason, it believes it has a better chance of getting to stay on our property if it plays hide and seek with us.

At first, this tactic worked very well.  We didn’t suspect we had a porcupine control problem.  We had other explanations for some of the damage we found.  Our makeshift plywood door on our shed had a large hole chewed right through the bottom right-hand corner.  We thought it was raccoons.  We found holes scratched into our sod, and assumed we had opossums or maybe rabbits.  The undercarriage of my husband’s truck had scratch marks and a tire had been chewed on.  Again, we blamed raccoons.  For over a month, we were on the lookout for a couple of raccoons.  We were certain they lived in the nearby woods and had probably found a hollow log or other nice place for a den.  We even picked out names for them, in case we ever saw them.

So, the porcupine’s ploy worked.  We weren’t on the lookout for a porcupine.  It had found some perfect little hiding spots throughout our yard, and stayed well out of sight.  For a while, all we ever saw was the damage, and we blamed other animals.

One Saturday morning, we must have startled the porcupine, though.  It was going to be a warm day, and we had a lot of yard work to do, so we had decided we’d get up early, get it done, and then enjoy the hotter hours of the day at a cool movie theater, followed by an air conditioned restaurant.  We went out into the yard, pulled out our tools from the shed, and started working.  I was digging up some weeds when something bounced off my head.  It was a piece of bark from the tree I was working under.  I looked up, and couldn’t believe what I saw.  A porcupine clung to tiny branches far above my head.  As far as hiding spots go, that was genius, I have to admit.  Who looks for a porcupine up in the tree?  But, there it was – a fat little cumbersome body, its quills laying flat, little paws clutching the tree, and a mouthful of bark that it had obviously stripped off the tree on the way up, as a snack.

I called my husband over from where he was working on the opposite side of the yard, and he didn’t believe me, until he saw it for himself.  It explained all the damage in our yard – the shallow holes in the grass, the chewed up door to the shed, the trees with pieces of bark stripped from them, and even the chewed truck tires.  That’s a lot of damage for one porcupine, assuming, of course, there weren’t more porcupines playing hide and seek with us.  We called porcupine control and went back to our work, letting the porcupine enjoy his last moments far up in the treetop.

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.