Why Did the Porcupine Cross the Road?
Columnist Gab Bonesso has a new appreciation for porcupines because, well, there is one living on her street!
Last night as I was driving home from play rehearsal, I turned the bend onto my street and I swear a porcupine ran out in front of my car. I think. It was a round, mass of fur slowly trying to run across the street.
My first logical thoughts were that it was merely a really big groundhog, but no. It didn’t resemble a groundhog at all. My second suspicion was that it was a morbidly obese raccoon, which is totally believable considering all the garbage they eat. Although this creature was not striped nor did it have a tail quite like a raccoon.
Honestly, it looked a lot like Sonic from the SEGA game Sonic the Hedgehog. Do we have hedgehogs in Pennsylvania? Do we even have porcupines for that matter? Am I losing my mind and hallucinating small-game animals? Why am I typing all of these rhetorical questions?
After perusing the Internet, I found some facts. Not only do we have porcupines in the state of Pennsylvania, but there is currently a controversy over whether or not they should be hunted.
According to Lancaster Online:
Last year, the Pennsylvania Game Commission stirred controversy when it established a statewide hunting season for porcupines.
Animal rights advocates tried to block the hunt, claiming porcupines have a low reproduction rate and therefore can't withstand hunting pressure.
On Tuesday, in the heart of Pennsylvania's first-ever porcupine season, the Board of Game Commissioners moved to scale back the hunt for the 2012-13 season.
They did so out of fear that an illegal market for porcupines could originate in the state. "There are a couple of different markets for them," said Rich Palmer, director of the Game Commission's Bureau of Law Enforcement. "There is the traditional Native-American-type circuit, where they're looking for everything from furs to quills to claws and full paws, and things like that.
"There's also a huge international market."
Porcupines are quite valuable in Vietnam, according to Palmer, where they are primarily sold for the meat.
Okay. Now I’m not sure that you’ll interpret the above information in the same way that I did, but I am pretty certain that what I saw was in fact a porcupine. I am also pretty certain if that porcupine lives nearby with his family then I might have just stumbled upon an illegal market gold mine!
What’s that? You’d like some more pan fried noodles? Might I suggest a side of porcupine meat? That will be $5 million (insert evil laugh).
Seriously though, no wonder that poor porcupine was dragging his spiked fur across my street. He’s trying to avoid becoming someone’s hat or dinner! Poor, little, lethargic, night-dwelling guy...
I don’t even want to tell you about the results of my hedgehog research. Let’s just say we got em’ and that it’s really bad to import them from other states. Leave it at that.
I must admit that seeing these odd creatures reminds me of what I especially love about living in Robinson Township. It’s not the wilderness channel 24/7 by any means. We have the finer things in life (movie theaters, the Market District Giant Eagle with organic produce and grass-fed beef, Korean BBQ, an all-vegan restaurant, etc…), but we also have these mini-adventures.
Whether I see a family of deer or a gaggle of turkeys or our sly neighborhood fox, I am reminded to take some time to step away from the Internet and simply look outside my window to enjoy these beautiful creatures.
Regardless of your beliefs (if you believe in God or nothing or aliens) you have to acknowledge that we share this world with these little guys. The least we can do is to treat them neighborly-like and not run them over with our cars.
I mean that’s my policy for my other neighbors … Why should Mr. Porcupine be any different?