Friday, February 4, 2011

Just Guess What This Is

This, my friends, is one Coendou prehensilis or Prehensile-tailed Porcupine.  The coendu was photographed walking along a branch in 1928 on the Barro Colorado Island in Panama, minding its own business.  Given the extreme level of unattractiveness and the naked tail I would have guessed it for a relative of the opossum.   But coendus roll into a ball when threatened and they are nocturnal like our prettier but scary porcupines.  So I will have to concede the porcupine essence of the creature.  By the way "Little is known about courtship and mating interactions between the sexes."  I'm OK with that.  And who says 'opossum' anyway? 

Source:  University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
The Field Museum

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