By Andrea Rouda
MY HUSBAND and I have been battling a problem of less import than the wildfires in the West and the Covid surge but certainly on a par with, if not greater than, Britney Spears’ legal issues. The dreaded porcupine is back.
I first wrote about Porky—my husband’s name for him—back in September, 2019, describing our frustration at a creature who cared not a whit for other people’s property. Instead he came nightly to our beautiful linden tree, climbed up its considerable trunk, spent the night chomping the yummy leaves until he had his fill, then surreptitiously climbed down and headed back to his woodland home to sleep it off. Evidence of his drunken binges were strewn about in the form of stripped and broken tree branches.
Outraged, we fought back. After much research, we settled on a solution that did not involve an arrow to his heart but rather a simple wrapping of the tree trunk with plastic netting that made it impossible for an animal to grasp the bark and climb up. I say “simple” but it wasn’t—several days were devoted to this porcupine thing, if you count the repeated trips to several hardware stores and all the failed attempts. But at last we were victorious. Free of the intruder, our tree thanked us by blooming beautifully and filling out more than ever before.
A full four seasons passed with no Porky. Until three days ago, when evidence on the ground hinted at his return. Hoping we were wrong, still we suspected that Porky had cracked the code and was back to his old tricks. Then two nights ago we had proof: Out looking for our cat, I spied Porky lumbering across the front lawn and disappearing up into the tree. Curses!
Further research suggested wrapping the trunk in metal flashing, thus making it impossible to get a foothold, or in this case, claw-hold. A trip to Home Depot was required, and a few hours work over the weekend led to a successful outcome.
Okay, so I feel sad about Porky and how disappointed he must be, kind of like learning your local Baskin-Robbins has closed permanently. A few half-hearted dents in the flashing made it clear to us that Porky had tried. But too bad. Isn’t it enough that the blooms of half my flowers in the yard have been gobbled up by deer in the last few days?
—Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.
Editor’s Note: Here’s an adorable video of another porcupine.