Lesson Learned
📸 by @bradylochte

This dog learned a valuable lesson about boundaries when it got too close to a North American porcupine.

Contrary to a popular myth, porcupines are unable to aim and throw their quills at their attacker like some kind of real-life pokemon, but the quills are very easily shed when they become embedded in who or whatever gets within the danger zone.

Under a microscope (second slide) it is easy to see why.

The quills of the north american porcupine are designed to go in easy, requiring only half the force of a hypodermic needle to pierce your skin.

They are also designed to make removal extremely difficult and painful, each quill is coated with what almost looks like scales (they’re called barbs) going the opposite direction.

Once they’re embedded, the barbs make the quills about 4 times harder to remove than the quills of their african relatives, who do not possess barbs on the ends of their own quills.

As it happens, these barbs are the reason for both the ease of insertion and the difficulty of removal, acting like the serated edge of a knife on the way in and a stubborn ex-girlfriend on the way out.

PS: The dog made a full recovery.



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