WiseAcre Gardens

north of the adirondacks – wildflowers & perennials that survive winters colder than my wife's feet

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Posted by WiseAcre on Mar 18th, 2010

Porcupine Ivory

Mar 18

My quill covered acquaintance has once again, in a purely defensive move, stuck his head where the sun don’t shine. It was hardly necessary. The only threat I pose is to society.

Porcupine half hidden

After getting my porcupine shot of the day I checked out the area for more scarlet cap mushrooms. No luck with those but I discovered a white spot in the fallen leaves. Last year’s porcupine that is ‘no more’ made a final appearance at the base of the tree.

Porcupine skull in fallen leaves

With all due respect I plundered the remains and grabbed the skull. I looked for other bones and especially the claws but found no trace of them.


It wasn’t surprising that after a year of neglect all the teeth were loose.

Porcupine skull side view

Ever wonder why porcupines seem to gnaw everything in sight? They have to. Proper tooth care means wearing them down. The front teeth grow continually and if not worn down would curl around like a tusk.

Porcupine teeth

The incisors are mainly solid ivory formed from the pulp of the tooth. The orange coloring is a layer of enamel deposited only on the front. The ivory wears easier than the enamel and the tooth ends up chisel shaped and sharp.

Porcupine Backgrounds

Or are these photos a way to show how cool the top of my table stone is?

Porcupine skull - top front
Feeling cheery, I set the above photo as my new wallpaper.
Click either image for the 1024 x 768 version
Porcupine skull - side view

Speaking of solid ivory. Wonder if my wife would like an ivory pendant for her birthday?

Porcupine teeth

10 Responses

  1. miss m Says:

    Those are some mighty incisors !

  2. Randy Says:

    Very cool skull and the teeth are even better. Thanks for this post.

  3. Town Mouse Says:

    Very cool! Makes me want to move away from the suburbs and into more interesting parts of the country…

  4. cindee Says:

    Wow that is cool! I didn’t know they were ivory! Like an Elephant? People will be hunting them down now for sure…(-:
    I think the pendant would be nice(-: But I would probably keep the skull intact for a nice coffee table decoration(-:

  5. Ratty Says:

    Good post. Now that I know the mystery animal, I seem to recall those orange teeth from when you first found the porcupine awhile ago. I thought I remembered those teeth, but I couldn’t remember the animal.

  6. ryan Cummings Says:

    that’s a nice find with some serious incisors. i like it with the stone background.

  7. rainfield Says:

    You are very funny and weird to set the photo as your new wallpaper.

  8. Jan (ThanksForToday) Says:

    Very interesting photo and information! I’ve never seen a porcupine in my area, nor a skull or jaw or their teeth…so this is quite educational. I will show it to my 13 yr old son later today, as I’m sure he’ll get a kick out of it. Jewelry? Desktop wallpaper? Not sure I’d go for either of those, though;-)

  9. Monica the Garden Faerie Says:

    Those brownish teth always freak me out. The skull as a whole is awesome. And I hate to point out the obvious (wait, no I don’t!), but the sun IS shining on that porcy’s hind end! 🙂

  10. Benjamin Says:

    I was expecting something much more gross than what your lead up to this post suggested. Like that one a little while back of a wolf I think in the river. One of my MFA profs once told me how he found a squirrel or somethign in his yard, dead, but wanted the bone. He broght it into the house and started to boil off the bits, wife yelled at him for days since the house smelled not so spring fresh.