Risky Business

Porcupines are sort of amazing little creatures. They are in fact, a species of rodent, with quills ranging from different sizes and shapes in clusters all over the body, or if not in clusters, spread independently throughout. They live a kind of solo lifestyle as their line of defense can be costly not just for predators but for “friends” as well. I’ve been learning some great lessons from these spiky guys.

1. While independent, they are in need of one another at times. Porcupines enjoy warmer weather and so in times of cold, they must huddle together or risk death. In huddling together, they risk cutting one another which does happen. But you have two choices, become vulnerable and live, or choose to protect yourself over allowing others to help and die.

2. Porcupines would have long gone out of existence if they hadn’t figured out a way to procreate. How do they do so? Very carefully. They sort of dance nose to nose, paw to paw, the male than urinates (yes, urinates) on the female. If the female accepts this (finds the pheromones to her liking), she will then place herself in a position where her belly is exposed, the only place where there are no spines. The male at that point can join with the female but ONLY as long as the female allows it. She can turn at any moment and the male will have to back off unless he’s willing to risk injury. They fully understand that love is quite delicate, baby making is quite serious, and at the end of the day, it is always a risk.

3. The mating ritual described above is quite infrequent. Female porcupines are receptive to sexual advances only 8-12 hours PER YEAR. BUT they typically take advantage of this time once they find a suitable mate. They will “do the dance” as many times as possible during this time span, thus increasing their chances of a little baby porcupine appearing 110-212 days later (depending on type of porcupine). Lesson: When opportunity knocks, take full advantage though it might be scary, risky, and yes, you might get hurt; you never know how long that window will stay open.

Porcupines have other lessons I’m sure; I’ll update you as we go.

What does this have to do with waffles? Perhaps nothing. After all, there is far more to life than that.


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