American Porcupine Photo

American Porcupine, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

An American Porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum, in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

It’s always a treat to photograph a species I’ve never photographed before (or at least made any “keepers” of). Our recent trip up near the Nizina Glacier, in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve seemed to be porcupine central. I think I saw 3 in the first 6 hours of the trip. That’s pretty cool, considering I often go the entire summer season without seeing any porcupines at all.

This one wasn’t too concerned about my camera clicking away, and I managed to snag a few images where he wasn’t buried in the thicker brush (Soapberry – Sherpherdia canadensis) and forest they typically might be found.

I’m guessing the young cottonwood saplings were his dinner. I saw a number porcupines out in the gravel bars of the riverbed, where the main vegetation was pretty much what you see here; the cottonwood saplings, Yellow Dryas (Dryas Drummondii) and the Wild Sweet Pea (Hedysarum Mackenzii).

I’ve been hoping to get some decent porcupine photos a while now, in part because I wanted one for my upcoming Wrangell – St. Elias National Park photo book, and I’m pretty glad to have had this guy help me out with that. Hopefully this summer I’ll get some more images of critters I don’t yet have for the project. We’ll see how that goes. If things go as planned, I should have the images I want by late 2012 (I hope). If not, I’ll just have to do without them; either way, I think this cute fella will appear in the book.



2 thoughts on “American Porcupine Photo

  1. Mark

    Carl, I have only had 2 encounters myself here in Michigan, and only one that resulted in any savable images. I agree, it is a pretty cool encounter since I don’t think many people see them that often. The one I did get to photograph was fairly cautious of me at first, flaring it’s quills up a bit but still munched away at some plants. But then when he realized I wasn’t such a threat, he relaxed and keep on eating away.

  2. Carl D

    Hey Mark

    Thanks for the reply. They’re such a cool little critter, but so doggone hard to photograph! That’s great you were able to spend some time shooting one.



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