February 15, 2015

Life in Hollow Trees

By Margaret Gillespie

My dog, Mica, discovered this arched hole carved in the base of an old sugar maple. Joining in her excitement, I peeked inside and was immediately relieved that the hole was too small for Mica to enter. In this den, you can just make out the prickly tail and dark back of a porcupine! Porcupines are active all winter, feeding mainly on the inner bark of trees. They do need adequate shelter which can range from space in a jumble of rocks, an unused outbuilding or, in this case, a hollow tree. When I returned a few days later to explore the site with my niece, Yesi and her friend Mary, we were disappointed to find no porcupine in residence. However, the girls were delighted to find a nearby hollow sugar maple just their size!
The porcupine tail is just visible inside the den.

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