How to Catch a Porcupine

“Can I keep him?”

Oh oh. My son had brought home another creature. Not any old creature, mind you. No, this would not be a kitten or a bird with a broken wing… Kelvin at 10 years old would have something a tad more exotic.

Let me take that back. He would bring back a bird with a broken wing….but it would be something like an osprey, a toucan, or God forbid, a black vulture. That hasn’t happened…yet. But it could.

I can’t really blame him. I mean, I am the mother who showed him how to feed praying mantis and spiders. It was normal to have a tarantula or viper in a cage on our kitchen table. Curiosity with the world around us was a common thread for Kelvin and I. We would find caterpillars and become detectives when it came to figuring out what we had. After identifying the plant it was found on, we could usually find out what it was. If that didn’t work, then we waited patiently for it to go through the stages of metamorphosis and like a gift-wrapped Christmas present, break free of its chrysalis. “Ooooooo! It’s one of those!!!” we would exclaim in unison.

Living in Tortuguero, Costa Rica was a young boy’s heaven. Here Kelvin grew up with nature in all of its glory right up to the edge of our doorstep. He has had more encounters with nature than most children. Our surroundings were our classroom. Everyday there was something new to learn.

“Can I keep him?” he asked.

“Let’s see what you found”, I said, peering out of the kitchen window as I dried my hands from my dish washing. YES, there are dishes to be washed in the jungle!

“You gotta come out, Ma!! I got him on the porch!  Come on! HURRY!!!” My little boy danced impatiently on his feet thinking that I was taking FOREVER as all of us parent types do.

“Well, where do you have him?” I asked.

“Out here in the cooler!” His enthusiasm was making me wary….

“Why do you have him in the coo-OH!” I jumped back!

“KELVIN! You can’t catch porcupines in our cooler! What were you thinking!?”

“But Maaaaa! It’s just a little one and it’s so cute. Look at that little face” My son pleaded with what he calls his “Puss n Boot” eyes.

“No way dude! He’s got a mommy and he is not gonna cuddle up with you, believe me.”

Kelvin smiled. “I know, I know…I just wanted to see your reaction. It is pretty funny looking isn’t it?”

We peered down at this disgruntled, snorting little porcupine who glared back, puffing up its short quills, hoping to get a shot at us.

“I think you need to get him back home to his family, K.” I said gently.

He faked a pout but a smile was twitching around his lips. He carried it back to the tree where the rest of the porcupine family had lived for the last 5 years.

Porcupine caught in cooler by my son, Kelvin

Porcupine caught in cooler by my son, Kelvin

Now there’s more to that story. But I am saving it and many other little adventures for a book that I am working on. Let me know if you think that sounds intriguing.