Congratulations to Craig Hunt for winning the September 2022 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His photo of a North American Porcupine munching on fallen apples received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.
While porcupines are famous for their fondness for salty snacks, often gnawing on axe handles and work gloves and other salt-infused items around people’s homes, they certainly have a sweet tooth as well! The harvest season is as bountiful for wild animals as it is for farmers, and falling apples provide food for everything from deer to porcupines to yellowjackets. Craig’s photo of this porcupine enjoying a fresh apple shows off two features that are often difficult to view on a porcupine. The subtle transition from defensive spines on the back to soft hairs on the face and underbelly are easy to spot in this photo, as are the long, sharp claws shown clutching an apple here that are also used to climb thick-barked trees with ease. Porcupines, for good reason, are often a difficult species to appreciate up close, so thank you Craig for providing a glimpse at one of Vermont’s most interesting mammals having a classic fall treat.
Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!