Now this is something you don't see every day: a porcupine defending itself from not one, not two, but 17 lions.
The incredible nighttime spectacle was caught on video by Lucien Beaumont, a guide at the Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa. The porcupine can be seen using its quills to ward off 13 lionesses and four male lions at the reserve.
"As a guide I have a bucket list of various sightings that I dream of seeing," Beaumont wrote in a blog post about the unusual encounter. "The more time I spend in the bush, the more amazing things I have seen over the years, the more outrageous my bucket list seems to become. A few nights ago, I managed to tick one major sighting off my bucket list that I have been hoping, dreaming and imagining for many years."
Beaumont was observing the lionesses — the Mhangeni pride — and four coalition males late last month when they came across the porcupine.
"The lions were restful for most of the afternoon until it darkened into evening and began to cool," Beaumont wrote. "The pride soon became active and started to move with the four male lions in tow. Suddenly we saw the group clump together and it looked like they were surrounding something of interest. My imagination started to race, trying to figure out what they had found."
The porcupine immediately turned to its defense mechanism — shaking its tail and running backward into the approaching predators.
By the way, porcupines do not shoot their quills as some people think. "Rather the quills have micro-barbs, which hook into the face or paws of a predator that may get too close," Beaumont explains. "The quills simply pull out of he porcupine's skin without causing damage to the prickly creature. The predator then has to deal with a painful quill. The downside of this is that there is a chance of the quill breaking off in the skin and this can cause a major infection. The porcupine simply re-grows any lost quills."