Nature Notes

Vol. IV November 1, 1926 No. 13

"Mr. Porky"

sketch of porcupine Recently also Ranger Ed Hamilton saw a Porcupine while patrolling the west-side trail. Porcupines are quite common in the drier regions east and north of the park but this is the first ever to be reported from the Mountain. Visitors to Glacier National Park and the Canadian parks, as well as several other of our own parks find Mr. Porky one of the most interesting animals imaginable. He is perfectly harmless - so long as you don't happen to sit down on him or leave your saddle within his reach - and in Canada he is protected as the only animal that a man lost in the woods can kill with a club. It is understood that one must be lost in the woods and starving, to realy relish a porcupine steak. Many Indians however eat them commonly.

The "Quil-pig", as he is sometimes known, likes nothing better than to be left alone by man and beast, and most animals, including man, know enough to do so. Regardless of his peace-loving tendencies Mr. Porky has caused the death of many a follish bob-cat and coyote. Hunger has driven them to investigate what lays beneath this armor and they have found their mouth and throat so filled with barbed quills that eating become impossible.

Ed did not molest our new visitor. We hope he likes us and decides to stay.


So far as we have been able to learn the last Big-horn of this region was killed on Mount Adams, forty-five miles south of Rainier, about 1910. A few are reported to range into the northern part of the state along the Cascade Mountains. During the summer a park employee reported seeing a small band of sheep on the east side. He is a most reliable man and was quite definate in his identification. Sheep range over long distances and it is entirely possible that some may have entered the park. As yet we have not been able to check up on the matter definately.

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