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

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