No, not a prickly pear or prickly heat, or even my quirky little personality - but a prickly porcupine.
I usually can't get anywhere near enough to these guys to get a picture, because I don't want Baloo within miles of striking distance.
He had far too close an encounter with a juvenile porcupine a couple years ago and it entailed an overnight trip to the veterinarian, complete with anesthesia and over 300 quills removed from under his tongue alone (the youngster was just a great size to try and fit in his mouth - twice!).
I didn't have Baloo along on this excursion, though, so I was able to walk right up to the porcupine with camera in hand. They're very slow moving beasts, so I was able to take quite a few pictures as it ambled along.
It made a funny clicking noise at me as it walked - not from the quills, but as a disgruntled vocalization. Finally, it decided I wasn't going to leave it be and decided to climb a tree. They have the most amazing feet - the pads on the back ones are way bigger than I had imagined. I kept thinking that they looked like bear feet.
It found a spot up in an oak tree that felt safe, then settled in to keep an eye on me.
I'm not sure exactly what I expected from a close-up, but this wasn't the face I had imagined. The sort of wild, goggle eyes and wide, flat nose surprised me. I guess I was thinking along the lines of pointy nosed hedgehog faces, or something. Anyway, it was interesting to get to see this critter up close - and without worry about Baloo taking too avid an interest!