The word porcupine means thorny pigs, but don’t let this confuse you. They are not pigs, but rodents.
Porcupines are the third largest rodent in the world.
There are several species of porcupines. Some species are excellent swimmers, while others are great climbers. Regardless of species though, all porcupines shuffle on the ground.
Porcupines have terrible vision, but they make up for it with their sense of smell.
Porcupines communicate with one another by chittering, whining, and grunting.
Porcupines are famous for the quills that grow on their body. There are at least 30,000 of them.
The quills on a porcupine’s back are usually flat against their bodies. However, if an enemy approaches, their quills will stand up. Porcupines will also release type of smell to warn predators to stay away.
Some people believe that porcupines shoot their quills as self-defense. That is false. The truth is that they slap their tails and push the quills into their enemy’s skin.
Small hooks and scales cover the tip of each quill. That’s why when you get poked by one it’s very difficult to remove. So be careful.
A chemical similar to medicine also covers the tip of a porcupine quill. So if you ever get poked by one, at least you won’t have to worry about getting an infection.
The fisher is the porcupine’s greatest enemy, along with other predators such as wolves, owls, coyotes, and cougars.
Porcupine quills are very difficult to remove from other animals. However, it is easy for a porcupine to remove them from its body.
Porcupines are nocturnal creatures. That means they are awake during the night and asleep during the day.
Porcupines are herbivores. That means they only eat plants. Their meals are usually tree barks, twigs, berries, and grass.
Aside from plants, porcupine’s favorite food is anything that has a salty flavor.
Porcupines can be solitary creatures or live with a group.
A den is what you call a porcupine’s home. It is usually hollow logs, rock piles, or caves.
When two male porcupines are attracted to the same female, they will often fight. Whoever wins gets the girl.
Female porcupines can give birth to one or two babies. The parents raise the babies together. After a few months, the young porcupine will leave its parent to live on its own.
A baby porcupine is called a porcupette. They are born with soft quills, which will harden after a few days.
Porcupines can live up to 7 years in the wild. In captivity, it can be as long as 18 years.
Quillwork is a type of art form that uses porcupine quills to design clothes and furniture.