The Porcupine

P1060108We live out in the boonies. Fields and woods surround us on a picturesque dirt road. Most nights we hear the peepers at the pond below us and occasionally (and this is as rare as a blue moon) we’ll hear the coyotes. But for the past several nights we’ve been hearing a different noise. Scuffing, scratching noises. On my porch. And for the past several mornings when I leave for the barn I’ve noticed my porch steps are all chewed up. Plus some critter left their calling card in little black pebbles on the top step.

Those darned old woodchucks.

So we resolved to catch the culprit.

As it turned out it wasn’t the family of woodchucks who were the culprits like I thought (although they were the first candidates I thought of since they live right out back of our house under the stonewall.) In fact it was someone entirely unexpected: a fat, grey, porcupine. And he has been happily and stubbornly chawing away on my nice wooden steps due to salt which has soaked into them from ice melt sprinkled during the winter. (Porcupines like salt and it’s hard for them to find it in the wild).

That porcupine. He was a stubborn fellow. For two nights after I apprehended him he stubbornly returned to chew up my steps. Even after I had pasted the edges with cayenne powder. Didn’t phase him. He figured if the front edges were too hot and spicy he’d just chew ’em from the back side – underneath the steps. Smart porcupine.

Hollering, histing, swatting him with my broom (thankfully no quills got stuck) – all of it didn’t bother him. Really he was a rather grouchy porcupine. If he didn’t click at me disapprovingly for disturbing his dinner he would just stare at me like I was some stupid human for carrying on such a ruckus. And then turned right back around to chew my steps.

That prickled me. Those were my steps. Brand new last year. So I figured the circumstance called for drastic measures. All my other tactics had failed but I had another idea up my sleeve. Who knows? Maybe it would work. Worth a try at least.

I marched to the bathroom, pulled the 5 gallon water bucket from my towel closet and filled it to the brim with water. Hot water.

With one fluid, swift movement I heaved up that bucket, swung and stepped forward and the whole torrent of water doused that porcupine in one terriffic splash!

All his quills shot straight up in the air and he squeaked! Then with a shake he waddled off down the drive and away into the field. And since then hasn’t been back. Who knew a bucket of water could deter a very determined porcupine.


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