Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Plot Thickens

Afternoon light
This afternoon I hiked out visit Burdock, suspecting he still needs some supplemental nourishment. When I scrambled up the icy slope,  the warm light of late afternoon shone into the entrance of this spacious den site.

Again there were two porcupines present, but this time both were black—Burdock and a larger animal. The stranger eyed me curiously as I unpacked. Burdock, ignoring the stranger's bristling quills, waddled past him and came over for a visit (and biscuits).

Could the stranger be Dandelion the Dreadful? If so, she wanted nothing to do with me, and hustled up the snowy ramp opposite and out the upper door. With a flashlight, I could see that Dangerous Dan, the pale brown porcupine, was up in the nook he retired to on my visit yesterday. There were three porcupines in this one den! Now I suspect that two nights ago, the two porcupines we found in this den were Dangerous Dan and the black stranger, not Burdie. Where did he spend that night? Was he here with them, just out of sight?

This den site is among the finest I know of, well-sheltered, spacious, yet with a variety of little porcupine rooms that provide opportunities for solitude or better protection. Still, there are several very fine unoccupied dens just a short waddle away. I suspect these three porcupines were drawn to each other rather than to this particular den site. Hmmm . . . peculiar for a generally solitary species.

Burdock was sleepy today. He hummed to me, but was in a mellow mood, and went back to bed after a snack.
A lazy porcupine waking up from his siesta.

The tail end of a porcupine yawn.
Burdock inspects my boot.

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