Porcupines are fascinating animals. Although they are small and have short legs,
but with their spikes they can even defend themselves against lions!
Watch the animals for a few minutes. If there is food left in the crate, you can throw some of it on the table. What happens if two porcupines come too close?
Most of the day, i.e. when running, resting or eating, the spines lie relaxed against the porcupine body. But if they feel scared, threatened or want to defend their food, they set up their spikes at lightning speed. When feeding, they even position themselves so that they turn their backs and the thickest spines as far as possible to food eaters. In our porcupine group, just putting it up is enough to protect yourself. Large predators are not always impressed by this. Then the porcupines run backwards towards their opponents and ram the spikes into their bodies. In addition, they have specially shaped spines on their tails, which are called rattle cups and with which they can generate noise (see information board "The armory of porcupines").
Such spines are very useful. What are they made of? Tip: We have something very similar on our heads!
Spines are transformed hair. Hair and spines are made of horn. Just like a lion's mane
A pony's hoof, a cattle's horn, a bird's beak or a tortoise shell's shields - it is
all the same material (keratin)!
A crazy story, isn't it? Would you like a second story?
"It's winter. A group of porcupines snuggles up to warm each other. However, they prick each other with their spines - ouch. So they have to slide apart a bit. At some point they found a distance where it was warm enough and not prickly. "
Do you sometimes put up your spikes when someone comes too close to you? What can we learn from porcupines?
As in history, most of us are fine - we want warmth and love, but we also need freedom.
What we learn in this case - in order to keep each other and ourselves warm, we also sometimes have to put on our "spikes".
You have now spent some time at the enclosure. Did you notice the ditch in front of the table? Why don't the porcupines jump off? It's best to take a look at how they actually find their way around them!
Porcupines have relatively small eyes and see poorly. Since they are nocturnal in the wild, their sense of sight has regressed. With their wide nose and many touch hairs, they can orient themselves well in the dark. They can't see the floor from the table, so they usually don't jump into the "abyss". Some of them have learned that the ground is not far away and deliberately drop to collect forage residues.
Time for some joke questions!