Monday, June 12, 2006

Getting back into gear and important animal news

After weeks of fun and procrastination, it is time to get back into gear. This change of pace has been underway for two days now and I can say with confidence that things look good. I'm getting up to date on my readings and am getting my hands dirty with French again.

On a different note, some animal trivia. In a recent telephone conversation, Kristen asked me what the difference is between a porcupine and a hedgehog. Being the rather nerdy, computer-loving friend that I am, I promised to look it up on the brilliant internet. Here are the results:

Differences:
- Porcupines are rodents and belong to the Erethizontidae (new world porcupines) and Hysticidae (old world porcupine) families, while the hedgehog, on the other hand, is more closely related to shrews and moles, being part of the Erinaceinae family.
- There are no hedgehogs native to the Americas.
- There are no porcupines in the story of Peter Rabbit.
- Porcupines have quills
- Hedgehogs have spines
- Porcupines protect themselves mainly by hiding their face, keeping their belly to the ground, and raising their quills (a reaction similar to goose bumps in humans) and batting their tails, while Hedgehogs prefer to curl up in a ball and roll around.
- In their never-ending search for salt, porcupines chewed through some tubes on the bottom of our car while we were camping (maybe even more than once?). Hedgehogs never did anything of the sort.

Similarities:
- both porcupines and hedgehogs have an amusing appearance.

One more tidbit before I go: male porcupines urinate on the female to soften her quills before they mate.

6 comments:

Maria said...

Do either porcupines or hedgehogs make noise? Are either carnivorous? I am starting to think...

Maria said...

Also I agree with your about the nothotness of the big pretzles. Taking a bite feels like swallowing the ocean, if it was bone dry.

skhl! said...

do either eat muffins?

Grandma said...

And that last note on the porkies ... t'was a new one on us!! LOL

Anonymous said...

I can recall at least 6 times your father and I were stranded on the back roads of "da' UP" (Upper Peninsula of Michgan) due to the salt lickin' rodents. For a time, we were avid backpackers in the, get this, "Porcupine Mountains" along Lake Superior. Each time we hiked back to our car, usually after a week or so in the wilderness, we'd find that the porcupines had chewed through the hoses under our car. This blew the budget with towing costs, meals, hotels and repairs (imagine trying to get parts for an Audi wagon in the UP in 1976!), especially so since we'd find the damage on Sundays! Of course the times Claire was with us were always especially amusing. I remember spending 2 rainy days in a 12' X 12' motel room with her as she bounced from bed to walls to ceiling. She was about 2 and only ate "girl cheese" sandwiches!

Maria, porcupines do make noise, especially when they are drunk! The next time you see Doug, ask him about that.

XOX,
Maman

Maria said...

I most definitely will. I was beginning to suspect that maybe the animal living above my roof was a porcupine but I am going back to my original racoon hypothesis.