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

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