Telluride Colorado is great place to ski and a a beautiful place to live, particularly for creatures who appreciate mountain landscaping without few permanent residents. The Mountain Village above Telluride has under siege by an invasion of porcupines that take to the upscale surroundings of the log-and-rock mansions.
The prickly critters have done more than $100,000 in damage to landscaping by gnawing bark off spruce trees. They have completely stripped some 12-foot-tall aspens. They have eaten enough bark from 50-foot-high native trees to kill them.
And evidently porcupines are partial to anything salty and sweaty, so they have chomped on plywood that is treated with a sodium-based substance, as well as on tool handles, footwear and vehicle tires. They’ve even snacked on a few front doors.
There is much speculation about why the world’s third-largest rodent should so favor the Mountain Village this year. A hard winter last year may be contributing to the invasion. With about 65 percent of Mountain Village residents living elsewhere for most of the year, the porcupines can wander pretty much unmolested, particularly since the creation of the village scared off the bobcats that are the primary natural predators of porcupines.
Village officials are concerned and have created an open space and recreation board that will tackle the porcupine issue and help to get information out to the 4,100 mostly part-time residents. But the next invasion from the animal kingdom may already be gathering just beyond the village manses – marmots have been burrowing under hot tubs, excavating 40- to 50-foot-long tunnels behind rock walls and gobbling up shrubs. The joys of Colorado mountain living!