American Porcupine

An American Porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum, in Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

An American Porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum, in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Funnily enough, for such a relatively “common” species, I haven’t seen an awful lot of porcupines. I tend to spend my summer months higher in the alpine terrain, where they don’t frequent. In the winter, they tend to be pretty lowkey, staying quiet, like most animals, to conserve energy.

One summer, early, I did a trip up the Nizina River valley with a good friend, Bob. We hiked on the Nizina Glacier quite a bit, and explored the surrounding area, photographing a number of waterfalls, wildflowers, and the glacier and nearby mountains.

This day we’d hiked down the valley, along the shores of the Nizina River, and on our return to camp saw this porcupine. With a bit of guesswork, and a smattering of good fortune, we were able to position ourselves in front of the porcupine, and catch a few photos of him head on. Typically, a porcupine, when disturbed, turns his/her back toward the disturber, with that grand array of sharp, barbed quills providing a stern warning not to come closer.

So a nice photo of a porcupine from front on is somewhat hard to come by.

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