In Time For Valentine’s — Love in the Time of Quills

Nature is a perverse place.

Take, for example, the porcupine. Now, if you’re an inquiring soul like me, you’ve probably wondered–when a male porcupine loves a female porcupine, after the exchanging of sweet nothings and chocolates and roses and so forth, how exactly do they…y’know…I mean…

According to the brilliant minds over at the Straight Dope, at least in North American porcupines, the underside of the female’s tail is quilless. She flips it over her back, the male balances on his hind legs, tries not to touch anything, and thus the deed is done.

I’m guessing that “balance on your hind legs and don’t touch anything” is a rather nerve-wracking experience for the males, particularly since if your lady love changes her mind halfway through, all she has to do is flick her tail and the word “pain” will suddenly be redefined for you in a new and extraordinary fashion. On t’other hand, it only happens once a year anyway, for less than a day. Possibly they spend the other 364 days practicing their balancing. However, the weirdest bit–the really weird bit–is that prior to mating, for completely unknown reasons, the male porcupine hoses the female down with urine. Ejaculation powered urine, no less. Obviously the female doesn’t mind–see above statement about pain and so forth, and yes, it’s natural and beautiful and I should probably just be singing “Born Free” while porcupines pee on one another, etc, but I’m gonna say categorically from my rarified heights as a primate that That Is Freakin’ Weird.

I realize that giving someone a backrub to get them in the mood is not an option for porcupines, but you gotta wonder. Things like this make me believe in evolution more than ever, because otherwise the mystical god of porcupines is a serious weirdo. This may also explain the unpopularity of porcupines as furry characters. Or maybe not.

Why, you ask, all this time and energy devoted to porcupines? Well, I drew a Brazilian porcupine as a test piece for the aforementioned folio idea, and thus porcupines were on my mind, which led me to the half-remembered article on porcupine lovin’ and so forth. I had originally been thinking some mild cheesecake, but Christ, Nature pretty much Out-Weirded anything I could ever come up with involving porcupines, so I didn’t even give her nipples. I know when the cosmos has me beat.
Brazilian porcupine

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