Porcupine Update

Salted Stakes Removed in June

This past winter, we found evidence of a porcupine for the first time on the White Memorial property. In an effort to determine whether this porcupine is still on the premises, Jamie has been conducting an experiment for the past two months. Jamie's experiment relies on the porcupines' high affinity for salt, especially during the summer months. With this in mind, Jamie has placed 16 wooden stakes in a grid around the area where the evidence of the porcupine was found this winter. The stakes have been soaked in a salt-water solution with approximately the same salinity as the ocean in hopes that if Mr. or Mrs. Porcupine is still on the property, he or she, will gnaw on these salty stakes.

On Friday June 17 and Tuesday June 21, Jamie and I went around replacing the salty stakes for the second time since he began this experiment. Using a hand-held GPS and a carefully marked trail map, we trekked through the woods in the five ponds area, checking for possible porcupine chewing as we went. (This may sound easier than it actually was because since the stakes were placed by GPS coordinates, they weren't exactly in the most convenient locations.)

Chewing on Stake 179

As of this point, if the porcupine is still around the property, it has chosen not to chew on our carefully positioned, salty stakes. Most stakes had no evidence of anyone chewing on them. Some, such as stake 179 which is situated off the south-east corner of Beaver pond, showed some evidence of gnawing, but Jamie doesn't believe the marks were left by a porcupine (see above photo). Stake 180 also had some interesting marks on it, though once again, not from our prickly friend. We found two small holes at one corner of this stake (see photo below). Jamie believes that these holes could have been made by a bear's canine tooth, as a bear will sometimes mark his or her territory by biting and wounding trees in addition to other scent-related methods.

Holes on Stake 180
As they say, "third time's a charm," and maybe the porcupine will decide to chew on the third round of salt-soaked wooden stakes we have just finished positioning!

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