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