Saturday, January 31, 2009
Thursday evening, walking home from a my Children's Literature class at Machon Schechter, I saw a porcupine! I was walking down the steep hill that leads between some scrubby areas when I heard a rustling in the bushes. When I looked, I saw that one of the bushes was walking! I waited and sure enough, a very large porcupine ambled its way across the road about fifteen feet away from me.
I had recently been thinking about how much I missed seeing skunks in my neighborhood in Boston, and this critter had a similar air about it that said: my apparent cluelessness is simply a measure of my confidence that you, human, have no real interest in getting any closer to me. It was gigantic though! Maybe two and a half feet long!
A woman was walking her dog nearby and after the porcupine was gone I asked her, "What is that called?" and she told me the name in Hebrew: דרבן/Dorban. Then she asked what it was called in English (so much for the "perfect accent" people claim I have).
A little bit of internet research revealed that this was an Indian Crested Porcupine and that they are pretty common here. They are the largest rodent on the Asian continent and can grow up to 3 feet long and weigh up to 35 pounds. The joke/question about how porcupines mate is answered in interesting detail here, but --with apologies to most of our readers-- the entry is in Hebrew only. One tidbit: porcupines are usually monogamous.