Old Oak Tree Mystery Solved

-Barbara Walvoord

Last week, when I wrote about the old oak tree on the east campus across the field from the vegetable garden, several people asked me if something lived in the tree’s large hole, which quite obviously leads to a hollow in the trunk. I said, “I don’t know.”

Well, Eleanor Johnson’s daughter, who was visiting on Saturday, solved the mystery for us–a porcupine was sitting with its backside half out of the hole, enjoying the sun. When she approached, the porcupine scrambled back into the hole, leaving a few quills behind.

So I went to the National Geographic website to read about porcupines (http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/porcupine/), and I composed a quiz (answers below).

  1. Porcupines can shoot their quills. __True ___False
  2. Baby porcupines are born with ___hard quills ___soft quills __no quills.
  3. Porcupines eat __wood ___fruit __leaves ___spring buds ___ canoe paddles (Check all that are true)
  4. Porcupines rarely climb trees. ___True ___False
  5. A single porcupine may have __ 30,000 ___10,000 ___5,000   ___500 quills
  6. When a porcupine loses quills, they grow back again. ___True ___False

Answers: 1. False. 2. Soft. 3. All are true. 4. False. 5. 30,000. 6. True

You can visit the old oak tree by walking the path from the vegetable garden around the shrubby field. It’s level, but the ground is somewhat rough underfoot.

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