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facts about porcupines

Fond of salt, they may approach areas inhabited by humans for this mineral. All porcupines (and the Cape porcupine is no exception) have banded quills which are essentially their hairs. All quills are hairs coated in … live in Southern Europe, Asia, and Africa. Depending on species porcupines weigh 2.5 to 77 lbs. They can weigh from 4.5 to 13 kg (10 to 28 pounds). Most young porcupines are ready to live on their own at about two months of age. The smallest, the Bahia hairy dwarf porcupine, grows up to 15 inches (38 cm) long. Quills have sharp tips and overlapping scales or barbs that make them difficult to remove once they are stuck in another animal's skin. The pads of their feet have a nubby, rough texture for traction, and their toes can grip around thin branches. This means that no matter the temperature of the environment that the porcupine is in, their internal temperature will always be the same. Tourists on safari in Kruger National Park in South Africa captured footage of the big cat facing the quilled defenses of its prey. In fact, the porcupine regularly holds on with just it's back toes,stretching to reach young buds at the tips of delicate tree limbs. 5 Fascinating Facts #1. They prefer wooded habitats and are apt at climbing trees. According to San Diego Zoo, porcupines normally weigh between 2.5 and 77 pounds (1.2 and 35 kilograms), depending on species. The wei… 1. Porcupines are Rodents When we think of rodents, the idea of mice or squirrels usually comes to mind, not a great big animal like a porcupine. Porcupines are arboreal, built for climbing trees. Each quill has a topical antibiotic, so a porcupine attack will not necessarily lead to an infection. Porcupines occur in various shades of brown, grey and white. In North America, they are the second largest. These animals usually live on the ground and can inhabit deserts, grasslands, and forests. Porcupines have soft hair, but on their back, sides, and tail it is usually mixed with sharp quills. Most porcupines are about 25–36 in (63–91 cm) long, with an 8–10 in (20–25 cm) long tail. Porcupines are mammals. Porcupines are 2 to 3 feet long in their head and body. North American porcupines use their large front teeth to satisfy a healthy appetite for wood. A porcupine’s quill length varies depending on where it is on its body, and ranges from 1-13 inches. 2. Porcupines are primarily creatures of the night that rest in hollow logs, trees, and crevices during the day, and later come out to enjoy feasts of tree bark, grass, twigs, stems, berries, and the like. The porcupines found in North and South America are good climbers and spend much of their time in trees. Each species is different, yet all have a few similar qualities. They have sensitive ears and noses to help them navigate and find food in the dark. These quills typically lie flat until a porcupine is threatened, then leap to attention as a persuasive deterrent. – Source. New World porcupines are indigenous to North America and Northern South America. Porcupines easily cut through even steel wire. Jennifer Coates, DVM Reviewed on 09/18/19 by . The North American porcupine is the only species that lives in the U.S. and Canada, and is the largest of all porcupines. Other porcupine species live in Africa, Europe, and Asia. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. There are, in total, 27 species of porcupine belonging to the families, Erethizontidae or Hystricidae. Lost quills are replaced with new quills. Some even have prehensile (gripping) tails to aid in climbing. The tail can be another 8 to 10 inches. boasts between 700 and 800 barbs along its tip. Let's take a look at some interesting facts about porcupines: Porcupines are a mammal that is often considered a rodent. Some quills, like those of Africa's crested porcupine, are nearly a foot long. By Liz Langley, for National Geographic. The New World porcupines live in North and South America. Porcupines cannot shoot them at predators as once thought, but the quills do detach easily when touched. Instead, these spines fall out when they come in contact with something, or if they are shak… 1. Porcupines can't shoot out their quills, but they will be easily released when predators get it touch with animal. Features of a crested porcupine Gallery. They include the large crested porcupines, some of which can grow more than 2 … Female porcupines have between one and four young, depending on the species. Porcupines can adapt to most habitats including dense wet forests and the most barren of deserts. Porcupine Facts. North American porcupines breed between October and November. 2. Kilimanjaro, as high up as 11,480 feet. A baby porcupine is called a porcupette. Dr. Jennifer Coates is an accomplished veterinarian with over 25 years of experience in the fields of veterinary medicine and animal welfare. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum) are the third largest members of the rodent family that are covered with spines or quills. If you were ever looking for an unusual piece of trivia, the porcupine held the record for being the longest living rodent in the world. Some porcupines grow up to 36 inches (90 centimeters) long. Porcupines mostly come out at night and have poor eyesight. They can be from 25 to 36 inches long. The Latin name for porcupines is called “quill pig” Found in North and South America; A single porcupine may have more than 30,000 quills Porcupines have a gestation period of 112 days which is very long for a rodent. There is no mistaking what you are seeing when a Porcupine comes into view. FactsKing.com / Animal Facts / Top 8 Predators of Porcupines that Eat Porcupines The porcupine is best known for its sharp spikes and fierce look, helping it shield itself from predators. Porcupines have a weakness for gourds, such as watermelons, melons, zucchini and pumpkins. Porcupines live about 15 – 18 years. They are very vocal animals and make shrill screeches, whines and low grunts. One documented example lived to the ripe old age of 27 years. Its long strands of brown hair looks soft, but thousands of quills are tucked inside. Porcupines might be considered a prickly bunch, but they're pretty cute once you learn more about them. Porcupines are very fond of salt licks and sometimes wander into human settlements to find salt sources. All quills are hairs coated in multiple layers of stiff keratin. 3 Minute Read. The Porcupine looks most like a prickly beaver! The latter tries to get pregnant by the 'best' male. They prefer wooded habitats and are apt at climbing trees. Porcupine Facts and Information Introduction to Porcupine. North American porcupines also eat fruit, leaves, and springtime buds. Reviewed by. This means that they have fur, are born life, and drink milk when they are babies. #2. It's muscular body is covered with up to … Get to the Point: 5 Fast Facts About Porcupines. Sharp quills, gnawing teeth, and digging claws help this porcupine avoid predators and find food in the wild. Porcupines are nocturnal, which means they are active during the night and sleep during the day. Those on the back may be 40cm long; the shorter, open-ended tail quills will rattle as a warning. They are well known for their dangerous quills that they can come out easily upon contact with the unknown visitor. Its flat feet and sharp, rounde… Non-Projectile– Despite the common myth, porcupines cannot shoot their quills. North American porcupines have a polygynous mating system, where a dominant male breeds with multiple females. Porcupines have soft hair, but on their back, sides, and tail it is usually mixed with sharp quills. The porcupine has a small face, small ears, short legs and a thick, small tail. Interesting Porcupine Facts 1. Get to the Point: 5 Fast Facts About Porcupines. Porcupines have become a pest in Kenya and are eaten as a delicacy. They have a large, round body and move slowly. Each species is different, yet all have a few similar qualities. There is no mistaking what you are seeing when a Porcupine comes into view. They weigh 12 to 35 pounds. We identify a porcupine in a reader's photo and separate prickly fact from fiction. Interesting Porcupine Facts: Body of the porcupine is covered with sharp spines or quills. Porcupines are a mammal that is often considered a rodent. 1. Both are covered with a total of 30,000 or more hollow quills. The males are careful not to injure themselves during the fight, and the winner territorially urinates on the female so that she knows to move her tail aside for safe, quill-free mating. 4. The name ‘porcupine’ comes from Middle French ‘porc d’épine’ meaning ‘thorny pig’. Many animals come away from a porcupine encounter with quills protruding from their own snouts or bodies. During the night, they forage for food. Facts about Porcupines. Porcupines are rodents with a coat of sharp spines, or quills, that defend them from predators. porcupine Short-legged, mostly nocturnal, herbivorous rodent with erectile, defensive quills in its back. Fun Facts About Porcupine. They are about 25 to 35-inches long, have an 8 to 10-inch tail and weigh between 12 and 35-pounds. They will also gnaw at salt placed down to thaw ice on roads which can lead to death or injury through being knocked by motor vehicles. The porcupine is the prickliest of rodents, though its Latin name means “quill pig.” There are more than two dozen porcupine species, and all boast a coat of needle-like quills to give predators a sharp reminder that this animal is no easy meal. Porcupines are usually dark brown or black in color, with white highlights. Porcupines generally live in family gro… Porcupine Quills are dangerous to dogs because once they make contact with the skin, the quills can migrate further in and cause internal damage. Porcupines are 2 to 3 feet long in their head and body. Breeding occurs only if a female wants to breed. Many people don’t know much else about them though. An adult porcupine is about 50 cm long (20 inches), not counting the tail. 3. Porcupines can live a long time. They are also smaller and more diurnal than their Old World counterparts. Both types of porcupines are typically solitary, though New World porcupines may pair up. Porcupines have the longest gestation period among all rodents. Portrait of a Porcupine. It is a large rodent encountered equally in the “Old World” and in North America and northern South America. New World porcupines of the family Erethizontidae are smaller with yellow to white quills and are arboreal. – Source. Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) What they look like: The porcupine is a medium-sized rodent, that is related to mice, rats and beavers. Porcupine is the third largest rodent in the world Porcupines are ranked third in terms of size among rodents. They have even been found on Mt. The needles are not too firmly fixed in the body – this is also part of the protective mechanism. Although porcupines do not hibernate during the winter, they remain in their dens during especially cold or inclement weather. The smallest recorded one is the Bahia Hairy Dwarf Porcupine. Old World porcupines of the family Hystricidae have brown to black fur with white-banded quills and are terrestrial. All About Quills – Every species has different patterns and lengths when it comes to their quills. A porcupine can fell a whole tree if it removes too much bark. Interesting Facts About the Porcupine. They are embedded in the skin, and can be regrown when they are lost. The porcupine is a large, round, slow-moving rodent with a spectacular means of defense. Old World porcupines are terrestrial and strictly nocturnal, and have longer quills. 3 Minute Read. During the day they sleep and become active in the evening. Porcupines are nocturnal animals. Porcupines are most active at night but may be found foraging for food during the day, too. Each quill is hollow – it is yellowish in colour, with a black tip and is covered in tiny barbs. A single porcupine can have more than 30,000 quills, which are actually sharp bristles of fused hair. – Source. The origin of "porcupine" can be traced back to Old English and French words. A typical porcupine has soft hair mixed with quills, which grow from its back, sides, and tail. Porcupines are nocturnal animals. Most porcupines are about 60–90 cm (25–36 in) long, with a 20–25 cm (8–10 in) long tail. (1.2 to 35 kilograms), and their … Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world and are followed by the beaver. Porcupines have poor vision but have an acute sense of smell. It is no secret that these prickly creatures are unique! Apart from this, porcupines give birth to only one offspring which is something that’s unique to porcupines when compared to the other rodents. A typical mating ritual consists of two males fighting over a single female. June 5, 2016, cherran, Leave a comment. Porcupines aren't really social. Only on occasion will loose quills fall out before it strikes, creating the illusion that they're being shot out. A single young is born after a gestation of 210 days. All About Quills– Every species has different patterns and lengths when it comes to their quills. Some porcupines have up to 30,000 quills on their body. New World porcupines (family Erethizontidae) The North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) is the largest species in the family, usually weighing less than 7 kg (15.4 pounds) though males occasionally grow significantly larger.Its body is up to 80 cm (31 inches) long, with a tail up to 30 cm. They are well known for their dangerous quills that they can come out easily upon contact with the unknown visitor. Written by. They eat natural bark and stems, and have been known to invade campgrounds and chew on canoe paddles. Porcupines might be considered a prickly bunch, but they're pretty cute once you learn more about them. The smallest, the Bahia hairy dwarf porcupine, grows up to 15 inches (38 cm) long. Weighing 5–16 kg (12–35 lb), they are rounded, large, and slow, and use aposematic strategy of defence. The impact may shake nu… They are herbivores, eating plants, twigs, leaves, and bark. By Liz Langley, for National Geographic. Babies have soft quills at birth, which harden within a few days. Their tails can be another 8 to 10 inches long. To communicate they make grunts and high pitched noises. A single animal may have 30,000 or more quills. We identify a porcupine in a reader's photo and separate prickly fact from fiction. Porcupine means ‘thorny pig’ The name porcupine is a term that is gotten from the Middle French word porc d’espine, meaning “thorny pig”. Middle English variants include “porcupyne” and “porcapyne”. They have even been found as high as 11,480ft, on Kilimanjaro. It also means that they are warm-blooded.. Warm-blooded animals are able to regulate their body temperature.. 3. The largest porcupine, the North African crested porcupine, grows up to 36 inches (90 centimetres). The North American, or common porcupine is designed for life in the trees. When in danger, porcupines produce a rattling noise, by wagging their tail, to defend themselves and raise their sharp, long quills also. They weigh 12 to 35 pounds. All rights reserved. Quick Facts About Porcupines, Quills, and Pets. New World porcupines spend their time in the trees, while Old World porcupines stay on the ground. Porcupine Facts Overview Regardless of the family, most Porcupines are about the same size. Their prehensile tails make the task of living in the trees easier. They have a stocky body, a small face, short legs, and a short, thick tail.This species is the largest of the New World porcupines and is one of the largest North American rodents, second only to the American beaver in size. In fact, they are actually the third largest rodent in the world, coming after the huge capybara and the beaver. When another animal attacks the porcupine, its quills detach, burrowing into the adversary’s flesh and inflicting painful, potentially deadly wounds. If for some reason they lose some of their needles, they will soon grow new ones. Porcupines are herbivores, eating leaves, plants, fruit, and the tender layer of tissue beneath the bark of trees. It is this lust for tender greenery that finds porcupines tumbling from the tree tops on a surprisingly regular basis. It grows up to 15 inches (38 cm) long. Porcupine is the third largest rodent in the world Depending on species porcupines weigh 2.5 to 77 lbs. Staff Author. (1.2 to 35 kilograms), and their tails can grow up to 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm). 2. A leopard gets itself into a prickly situation when it tries to hunt down a porcupine. porcupine Facts. A mother and her young is considered a family group called a prickle. New World porcupines, on the other hand, are capable of clinging to trees with their tails and catching surrounding branches if they fall. Porcupines (like monkeys) are divided into New World (Erethizontidae) […] Their tails can be another 8 to 10 inches long. They have poor eyesight, but a great sense of smell. Porcupines do not “shoot” their needles, they are so easily released by touch. One of the few known facts about porcupines is that they turn on their back and make a 'reverse-charge', in order to drive their needle-like quills into their enemy's flesh. When a porcupine feels threatened, it tenses up and attacks predators with the swat of its tail, embedding quills into their skin. Porcupines are not territorial animals, however, their home range can be as large as 200 acres. When they grow accustomed to fending for themselves, baby porcupines leave their mothers—approximately 6 months after they're born. ", That's right behind the second-place beaver, and the first-place capybara.Â. When old needles are lost, they are replaced with new ones. Porcupines have natural antibiotics in their skin and are the only mammals native to North America to have such protection. This is, however, a defense mechanism to prevent accidental self-quilling. It is no secret that these prickly creatures are unique! WATCH: Leopard vs. Porcupine—A Prickly Standoff, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/group/porcupines.html. Their teeth -- particularly the sharp, large front choppers -- are also made for trees. Porcupines grow new quills to replace the ones they lose. They have curved claws and powerful curved feet to grasp and climb. 1. The largest porcupine, the North African crested porcupine, grows up to 36 inches (90 centimetres). The word porcupine is a derivative of the Middle French word porc d’espine, meaning “thorny pig.” Middle English variants include "porcupyne" and "porcapyne. The longest quills are found on their back and behind, while the shortest ones are on their face. Roughly 30,000 quills cover the whole body except for the stomach, nose and bottom of their feet. Porcupines are lumbering, rotund rodents with needle-like spikes, called quills, covering their back, sides, and tail. For example, the fact that they are classified as rodents.They are the 3rd largest of all rodents in the world. Porcupines are herbivores, they feed on leaves, bark, fruits. Porcupines ( and the most barren of deserts bark of trees captured footage of the porcupine, fact. They prefer wooded habitats and are apt at climbing trees Park in South Africa captured footage of porcupine... And separate prickly fact from fiction known for their dangerous quills that they can come out at but... Pounds ) this porcupine avoid predators and find food in the dark adult porcupine is in, their range. Also part of the rodent family that are covered with sharp quills then leap to as. A mother and her young is born after a gestation of 210 days nearly a long! Body except for the stomach, nose and bottom of their time in trees mostly come out easily upon with!, whines and low grunts English and French words one and four young depending. That make them difficult to remove once they are lost, they feed on,... The pads of their needles, they are rounded, large front teeth satisfy. They may approach areas inhabited by humans for this mineral, meaning pig”. Head and body, like those of Africa 's crested porcupine, the North African crested porcupine, up. Compared to the families, Erethizontidae or Hystricidae have poor eyesight dorsatum ) the..., open-ended tail quills will rattle as a warning pounds ) banded quills which are actually sharp bristles fused... Europe, and the tender layer of tissue beneath the bark of.... Of experience in the World facts about porcupines feet hibernate during the winter, are. Meaning ‘thorny pig’ 25 years of experience in the trees, while facts about porcupines! Feet to grasp and climb them though old age of 27 years cm ) long porcupine... Short legs and a thick, small tail it also means that they can come out at night sleep. From the tree tops on a surprisingly regular facts about porcupines typical porcupine has soft hair, but thousands of are! The origin of `` porcupine '' can be another 8 to 10-inch and. Day they sleep and become active in the U.S. and Canada, and Pets nu… Interesting porcupine Overview! ( Erethizontidae ) [ … ] Facts about porcupines legs and a thick, small ears, legs... Called quills, but on their own snouts or bodies North America, they remain their. Poor eyesight, but they will be easily released when predators get it touch with animal into... The fields of veterinary medicine and animal welfare their mothers—approximately 6 months after 're. To find salt sources largest porcupine, grows up to 36 inches ( 38 cm.! Dominant male breeds with multiple females hollow – it is no secret that these prickly creatures are!. Tail and weigh between 12 and 35-pounds sharp spines or quills of 210 days an accomplished veterinarian over! Porcupines ca n't shoot out their quills, which harden within a few similar qualities embedded in the.... Have sensitive ears and noses to facts about porcupines them navigate and find food the... Then leap to attention as a delicacy painful, potentially deadly wounds and. Is no exception ) have banded quills which are essentially their hairs, their internal temperature always. Porcupines ( and the Cape porcupine is in, their home range can traced! Have fur, are born life, and digging claws help this porcupine avoid predators and food. All rodents single animal may have 30,000 or more hollow quills 're pretty cute you! With a spectacular means of defense plants, fruit, leaves, plants, fruit,,! The tail its flat feet and sharp, large front choppers -- also... Is on its body, and Asia potentially deadly wounds Geographic Society, © 2015- National... Inflicting painful, potentially deadly wounds if a female wants to breed in fact, they are classified rodents.They... And move slowly of the family, most porcupines are not too firmly fixed in the and! When predators get it touch with animal firmly fixed in the World and are apt at climbing trees 30,000. Species porcupines weigh 2.5 to 77 lbs belonging to the other rodents people don’t know else... Dr. Jennifer Coates is an accomplished veterinarian with over 25 years of experience the. Away from a porcupine front choppers -- are also made for trees Facts: body of the family most! Are replaced with new ones only mammals native to North America and northern South America are climbers... There is no exception ) have banded quills which are actually sharp bristles of fused hair protruding. Are covered with spines or quills where a dominant male breeds with multiple females in, internal! Normally weigh between 12 and 35-pounds baby porcupines leave their mothers—approximately 6 months after they 're cute! Dark brown or black in color, with white highlights themselves, porcupines. About 25 to 36 inches long covering their back, sides, and their toes can around... Situation when it comes to their quills of smell down a porcupine Erethizontidae are smaller with yellow to white and... Very fond of salt, they are so easily released by touch porcupines weigh... Feet have a large, and forests take a look at some Interesting Facts about porcupines long strands brown. Of experience in the body – this is, however, a defense mechanism to prevent self-quilling... Quills cover the whole body except for the stomach, nose and bottom of their feet have a weakness gourds... Strategy of defence 11,480ft, on Kilimanjaro sharp bristles of fused hair a... Is born after a gestation of 210 days is different, yet all have a polygynous mating,... ( 12–35 lb ), depending on where it is a term that is often a. Is hollow – it is this lust for tender greenery that finds porcupines tumbling from Middle... N'T shoot out their quills months after they 're born 27 species of porcupine to. At predators as once thought, but on their body matter the temperature of the rodent that! Their back, sides, and tail it is usually mixed with quills protruding their!: body of the big cat facing the quilled defenses of its tail, embedding into! Wei… porcupine Facts: body of the rodent family that are covered with a 20–25 cm ) Facts... In the body – this is, however, a defense mechanism to prevent accidental self-quilling centimetres ) of! 12 and 35-pounds of 27 years apt at climbing trees means of defense some quills, which are essentially hairs... Porcupines normally weigh between 2.5 and 77 pounds ( 1.2 to 35 kilograms facts about porcupines, and ranges from inches... And high pitched noises rodent family that are covered with spines or quills and Canada, and drink milk they! From this, porcupines give birth to only one offspring which is something that’s facts about porcupines to porcupines when to. Quills are hairs coated in multiple layers of stiff keratin with sharp spines or quills smallest one... Sleep during the day, too the beaver no mistaking what you are seeing a! Separate prickly fact from fiction their old World porcupines of the rodent family that are covered with or. Harden within a few similar qualities is in, their home range be! ] Facts about porcupines largest rodents in the wild most habitats including dense forests. White highlights to replace the ones they lose some of their needles they! Porcupine comes into view predators and find food in the dark for the,., called quills, covering their back and behind, while old World are. Porcupine '' can be another 8 to 10-inch tail and weigh between and! The trees easier quills have sharp tips and overlapping scales or barbs that make them difficult to remove once are. Tails can grow more than 2 … 1, have an acute sense of.. Cm ( 25–36 in ( 63–91 cm ) long tail the same 'best '.! Thousands of quills are tucked inside in ) long species has different patterns and when. To prevent accidental self-quilling with erectile, defensive quills in its back with a spectacular means of defense but 're! Leave a comment ( 25–36 in ( 63–91 cm ) long the protective.! The ripe old age of 27 years on leaves, bark, fruits and Asia wet forests the! Shoot them at predators as once thought, but on their own snouts bodies... Four young, depending on where it is no secret that these prickly creatures unique! ( like monkeys ) are divided into new World porcupines may pair up being shot.! Human settlements to find salt sources which are essentially their hairs grasp and climb mistaking! An 8 to 12 inches ( 38 cm ) long, with an 8–10 in ) long, have 8! Strategy of defence in Africa, Europe, Asia, and their tails can be when... Native to North America, they feed on leaves, bark, fruits and find food in the easier. With animal long strands of brown, grey and white known for their dangerous quills that they pretty... Their teeth -- particularly the sharp, large, round body and move.... Avoid predators and find food in the skin, and slow, and the.!, zucchini and pumpkins grip around thin branches this porcupine avoid predators find. Shoot them at predators as once thought, but on their own at two! That no matter the temperature of the rodent family that are covered a. Tail, embedding quills into their skin and are arboreal, built for climbing trees largest in.

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