July 7th OOTD: North American Porcupine!

Good morning Merck Forest BioBlitzers! Today’s OOTD is our first mammal highlighted as Observation of the Day, and one of the most commonly identified of the mammals seen on the Merck Forest and Farmland Center property: the North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum)! You can see the OOTD here.

The word “porcupine” is of middle or old French origin from the word “porcespin” which aptly translates to “thorn pig”1. The NA porcupine’s quills are modified hairs which form into barbed, hollow spines. Contrary to a popular presumption, NA porcupines do not “shoot” their quills when threatened, but rather flex them to stand up, where they are more easily dislodged when they contact a perceived predator. After the North American beaver, the North American porcupine is the largest rodent in North America1.

There have only been 10 research-grade observations of mammals over the past two years of Merck Forest BioBlitz-ing, so come out to Merck Forest and Farmland Center any time on July 24th or July 25th to help us explore and identify our wild furry friends!

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Photograph: © Sue Wetmore - some rights reserved - (CC BY-NC)

Lähettänyt maxmiley maxmiley, 7. heinäkuuta 2021 14:52


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