This North American porcupine ate away at some buds off a small branch, grabbing the leaves and buds with his paws to bring them closer for a bite. Being herbivores, porcupines usually eat things such as bark, buds, and the leaves and twigs of other plants; however they also are known to gnaw on salty objects and can cause damage to tires, tools, wooden buildings, and may also damage corn or alfalfa. Only the North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) occurs in Canada, throughout mainland forests and thickets. These mammals have more than 30,000 quills which are actually modified hairs, and are Canada’s second largest rodent (after the beaver). It is a misconception that the porcupine can shoot its quills at predators but they do become easily detached when touched. They deploy them by swinging their tails. New quills begin developing within a few days. Many animals come away from a porcupine attack with quills protruding from their snouts or bodies. Be aware when walking your dog in wooded areas and if your dog is stuck with quills immediate treatment for the injury is recommended as it can result in serious complications. /SANDRA JAMES