(WEHT) – The National Park Service (NPS) is once again, warning people. This time they are warning people to not hug what they call… the needle beaver.
What is a needle beaver you ask? That is their nickname for a porcupine. Park officials offered some fun facts about these slow-pokes, quite literally, as they can only really go about two miles per hour at their fastest speed.
Now to get to the point…. a needle beaver has about 30,000 quills on his body. They repeat saying they are NOT huggers and to please not LICK it!
Despite popular belief porcupines cannot throw their quills because they are barbed. Loose quills do occasionally fall out before it strikes though which creates an illusion that they are being shot out. Park officials say they do however throw sass and tons of it. Reports say, “Porcupines are vocal critters and create a wide array of verbal cues, including shrill screeches, coughs, groans, whines, passive aggressive insults, teeth chatters, and witty barbs.”
NPS says in addition to the quills, porcupines have another way of warning off predators, they smell! Experts say the smell is similar to strong human body odor, goat or stinky cheese and increases in intensity when agitated.
According to biologists, their quills are actually hollow and grow back so they will scare off predators by rattling them. Baby porcupines are called porcupettes.
Finally, contrary to their similar appearance, porcupines are not related to their smaller spiky counterparts, hedgehogs. They are considered rodents where hedgehogs are closer to moles and shrews.
The National Park Service recommends people enjoy nature but not provoke, hug or lick it or they may just end up enjoying a porcupine’s favorite hobby, quilting.