PORCUPINE shutterstockA Porcupine squealing in the middle of the night. Recorded around midnight 25 September 2017 in Shindagin Hollow near Brooktondale, New York. © Lang Elliott.

Ever heard a Porcupine squeal? Well, I heard and recorded a squealing porcupine long ago in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, and that’s why I was able to identify the source of the mysterious sounds I recently captured in my beloved Shindagin Hollow.

It was dusk on September 24 and I set my soundscape mic in Hemlock forest, at the top of a ledge overlooking above the hollow. I left it there for the night and excitedly checked out my recordings the following morning. I was thrilled to discover that a little before midnight, a Porcupine slowly rambled through the hollow, stopping in one spot and giving a number of call sequences. Over about an hour, I captured about eight different outbursts, which I’ve pulled together into this 2.5-minute recording, deleting long intervals when the quill-pig was quiet. There was also a visitation from a Barred Owl, so I’ve included it in the compilation as well.

porcupine from shutterstock

I really enjoy hearing Porcupine squeals because they are so animated and full of emotion. What is going on here? Well, my somewhat educated guess is that there are actually two porcupines involved. A male is in pursuit of a female and it is the female who is doing the squealing. I say this because when I recorded my first porcupine in the Adirondacks many years ago, I sent the recording to a biologist who was working on porcupine behavior in the Catskills. He told me that the squealer was an upset female, probably pursued by a male wanting to copulate (hence my inclusion of the word “panderings” in the title … even if it’s not a real word). So that’s the story I’m telling you right now, but I stand corrected if anyone reading this is more intimate with porcupine language than myself.

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