Es Esto…. #3

Es esto un Pez Erizo Pecoso

If you guessed a porcupine fish…. You were RIGHT!

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One of Mother Nature’s practical jokes

You might think that the poodles’ mom didn’t want us being eaten because of all those spines but it’s not just that. Some of us carry a neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin. is 1200x more potent than cyanide.


There seems to be a lot of confusion about this fish. I found that many sources were mistaken by saying that the porcupine fish is the same as a puffer, burrfish, blowfish and or ballonfish by basing their criteria on the fact that they puff-up when frightened . In fact they are all related, coming from the same family, but they are not one in the same. I wont go into great detail about what sets these fish apart but I will give you links so you can explore for yourself.


I found these three to be the best sources:

www.princeton

flmnh.ufl.edu

mexfish.com


 So how did I come to the conclusion that these were porcupines and not puffers, blow, burr, box, globe, balloon or hedgehog fish? It came down to two last identifying features:

  1. “unlike the pufferfishes, they have only a single plate of fused teeth in each of the upper and lower jaws.”
  2. “The porcupinefish is larger than the balloonfish, with a wider head, and has small black spots that cover the body and fins. The skin of the balloonfish is dominated by larger spots or dark blotches that occur only on the body, not on the fins.”

 Who knew?!

Porcupine fish are also related to our old friend the trigger fish

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The story behind this picture coming soon….

and the enormous Sunfish that can grow up to over 5000 pounds!

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Click here to read more about this gigantic fish

They all coming from the same order:  Tetraodontiformes


Porcupine fish are considered catch-and-release for obvious reasons

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Fishing without rod at sunrise

Day 29 Porcupine Poke Party

I struggled in my decision about where to go next.   I thought about going to Haines Alaska via the Alaskan Highway west, to head south to Atlin or simply start heading directly home.  I was getting a little tired of hanging out with so many people and the lure of the North West Territories was calling to me like a Siren.  So, eastward we went… we’ll see how far north we get in the NWT.

East across the Alaskan Highway back and forth into and out of British Columbia and the Yukon we traveled on this windy road.

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Graffiti at Rest Stop

New territory!  We’re no longer back tracking the portion of highway we took in the beginning of the trip.  The junction of the Alaska Highway and Watson Lake is far behind us and the terrain is changing from the rather boring flat coniferous forest to rugged mountains and gorgeous blue rivers.  The exquisite turquoise color of these rivers is due to copper oxide leached from the surrounding mountains.  The water was crystal clear.


 

We set up camp next to the river but also next to what turns out to be a bridge with an interesting history.IMG_3810-1 (dragged) IMG_3821-1 (dragged)

 

Little did I know it’s connection to Washington State (where I reside).  It was build in 1941 with steel salvaged from the famous (and infamous) Galloping Gerdie… the Tacoma Narrows bridge.  I’m happy to report that this bridge is sway free.

 Gerdie then

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CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT GERDIE

Liard today

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We spent the evening exploring the river’s edge and looking for interesting rocks.  Poodles had fun chasing chipmunks.

It was the next morning that the fun began…

Someone please tell TinTin, Nickel and Eureka that

THIS

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is NOT THIS

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We woke up to a beautiful morning after a torrential down pour during the night.  The river had significantly risen and I was grateful that we were on a high solid bank.  It seems that a little creature had taken refuge under the camper and had a big surprise waiting for us.  I let the dogs out for a morning potting and soon heard them scurry around the camper.

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I assumed they were after a chippy.  I then heard a very peculiar whelp, growl and bark.  I’ve never seen my dogs fight but It sounded like maybe TinTin and Nickel had gotten into a scuffle.  I jumped out to see what was going on and saw the three dogs circling a small cluster of trees next to the camper and their noses were filled with quills.  I grabbed Eureka and Nickel by the scruffs of their necks and pulled them away (I didn’t have collars on them since we had just gotten up and I take them off at night).  TinTin was still lunging madly at the porcupine…. apparently she was just as intolerant of a porcupine fighting back as she is any dog.

I don’t know how I did it, but I got all three dogs away.  They were desperately pawing at their faces with both front paws and I knew that I needed to get the quills out before they pushed them further in.  I don’t know how many 100’s of miles I was from a town, but I knew that I couldn’t have three thrashing dogs in the truck while I tried to find a vet.  I got out my very well stocked first aid kit and began to dig for supplies.  I gave each dog a Tramadol to relax them and found a pair of forceps.  The three dogs were very very lucky that they had few quills and they were NOT in eyes, nostrils, tongues or throats.  I removed about 30-40 from each dog.  Needless to say I didn’t take any pictures but I found this one on-line to illustrate what it looked like.

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As I searched for pictures, I came across some horrendous photos of dog-porcupine encounters.  I’m not even going to post the worst ones… they were just too disturbing.

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I’m happy to report that this dog survived this with no eye problems… pretty amazing.

After removing the quills I shaved their noses to make sure I got every last quill.  They were then put on antibiotics.

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That was too much excitement for the morning.  I packed up and we hit the road, headed for the Northern Canadian Rockies.

FN Forest District