Monday, November 28, 2005

Fun facts about porcupines

All I knew about porcupines before today was that they are spiky and King Solomon had a lot of them. Thanks to Wikipedia I now know a lot more.

You know the old joke -- how do porcupines make love? Turns out the traditional answer (very carefully) is incorrect. Instead, male porcupines urinate on the female to soften the spines. I would prefer to say it with chocolates and roses, but may consider this method in extremis.

Wikipedia also tells me "Fishers sometimes successfully attack porcupines by biting their faces." My boss is often found on the river bank in his spare time and this makes me see him in an entirely new light.

And finally, there are Old World porcupines (which presumably Solomon had) and New World porcupines, which spend most of their time in trees. The Old World ones separated from the hystricognaths about 30 million years ago, presumably because they couldn't pronounce hystricognaths. I mean, they're rodents, and those enlarged front teeth must be the devil. When the New World porcupines separated from the hystricognaths isn't recorded. Possibly they took to the trees when the hystricognaths came looking.

So there you are -- some fun facts and a revised punchline to an old joke. Your lunch time is complete.


  1. There is also a possibility that the Chupacabras or 'Goat Sucker' of Latin America is an out of place tree-dwelling porcupine.

  2. Well, there you are. Where do they stand on hystricognaths?

  3. Anonymous12:27 am

    how do porcupines get in trees?

  4. Anonymous9:05 pm

    Why do porcupines like salt?

  5. I don't know. Why do porcupines like salt?


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