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Thrill of the quill

March 16, 2014
Minot Daily News
Kim Fundingsland/MDN
This porcupine is taking a risk by walking across open ground during daylight. Porcupines generally are found in trees during the day, but occasionally must climb down to find a more favorable tree. During the winter months porcupines commonly feed on bark and buds, leaving behind exposed branches stripped of their usual covering. Porcupines are referred to as “quill pigs” in some locales. They are herbivores and one of the largest members of the rodent family, sometimes weighing as much as 35 pounds. The porcupine’s well known defense is a coat of sharp quills. Despite that unique characteristic, porcupines remain a source of food for predators willing to risk a few quills in exchange for a meal.


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