This may surprise some (it did to me). There are porcupines in Michigan. I admitted this on the air and on social media and was met with equal 'Huhs' and 'Duhs.' In my defense, I have never seen a porcupine in the wild, and if I have, I've been clueless as to its presence. With piqued curiosity, I learned about these walking pin cushions, like what areas to avoid and what really happens when someone gets covered in animal darts.

Related: New Fear Unlocked: There Are Venomous SHREWS in Michigan

Growing up, I watched many cartoons and assumed they'd be a daily occurrence. To this day, I've never been 'quilled' by a porcupine. Of course, I also thought quicksand would be a bigger problem. Anyway, my extensive research revealed that a ridiculous number of people have intentionally let themselves be 'quilled' by a North American porcupine. Thank you, internet. Thank you.

What It's Like to Be Quilled By a North American Porcupine

Michigan's North American Porcupine Quills Pack a Powerful Punch

The North American porcupine, the only species in North America, weighs around 20 pounds at full size and is between 2 and 3 feet long, making it the second largest rodent in the continent, second only to its cousin, the beaver. The feature that made it famous is the porcupine's 2 to 3-inch long hollow quills. These quills are not thrown; that's just a myth. In reality, their quills are loosely attached to their bodies, so when a predator sticks its nose too close, it comes away with a face full of porcupine bolts.

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While a snout full of quills is painful enough, if not removed quickly, they will work their way deeper into the victim at a rate of around 1mm an hour. This is because the quills absorb water and body heat, making them expand and burrow deeper into the skin. The ends of the quills are also barbed, making it painful going in and coming out as well.

Michigan's North American Porcupine Quills Pack a Powerful Punch

Coyote Petersen (pictured above with a handful of North American porcupine quills) recommends cutting the ends off them to relieve the pressure (remember their hollow) and twisting them out from there. Again, these are barbed quills, so even with the pressure released, pulling these rodent rockets out of your or your pet's flesh will hurt.

Related: Schmidt Pain Index: Michigan's Most Excruciating Sting

The best way to avoid being quilled by a porcupine is not to touch one. While this seems logical to most, some may need a reminder. Don't touch Michigan's North American porcupine, but if you do, make sure you record it—for the internet's sake as Coyote Petersen does in the video below. Thank you, internet.

Curious Texas Dog Meets Porcupine

Poor Nugget wanted to make a friend but the porcupine wasn't feeling very friendly.

Gallery Credit: Billy Jenkins

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