Mr Furtive, the porcupine

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Porcupine, Alaska

Mr Furtive, the porcupine, originally uploaded by blather.

North American Porcupine on the road to Denali, Alaska.

I was speeding along one of the endless stretches of the George Parks highway when something caught the corner of my eye, across the road. I slowed down, pulled a U-Turn, and slowly drove back. So did the old SUV that was behind me.

I stopped, turned off the engine, pulled up my camera and 400mm lens from beside me.

A man appeared to the right of my car, in full U.S. military fatigues and crewcut, brandishing a tiny silver compact camera.

I got out, with my Canon bazooka lens.

That’s when Mr. Furtive, above, stepped out onto the road. He froze in this position, as if he’d been caught doing something embarrassing – that’s when I took the photo above. Then he backed into the grass.

That’s when Mr. Military sprung into action – he started charging through the long grass, trying to get a “close up” with his little camera. Mr furtive put his quills up, and started trying to get away. Mr Military circled the porcupine, making herding motions with his hands.

“I’ll try and get it towards you for a photograph”

“No, it’s ok, it’s better if you just leave it alone”

His chase went on for a few minutes in the waist-high grass, before the terrified animal took off into the woods.

I can’t remember his name (it was on his fatigues) but he wasted no time in telling me that he’d been down at Fort Richardson in Anchorage for National Guard training, and was being sent off to Iraq.

Well, that explains that then.


Chief Bottle Washer at Blather
Writer, photographer, environmental campaigner and "known troublemaker" Dave Walsh is the founder of, described both as "possibly the most arrogant and depraved website to be found either side of the majestic Shannon River", and "the nicest website circulating in Ireland". Half Irishman, half-bicycle. He lives in southern Irish city of Barcelona.


  1. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh I like the porcupine. I am sure he was caught “fertilizing” the park so it was a little embarrassed, after all its a vulnerable sitiation, isn’t he so ugly that he’s pretty? he’s proud of himself even tho he had a bad hair day, I’m sure he knows he’s oddly pretty ……….photographers always showing off their bazooka lenses.

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