Facts About Porcupines

Porcupine have tons of quills. These are sharp, stubby needle armor, which they use to protect themselves from other animals. Most porcupine species are nocturnal, which means that they roam around mainly at nighttime. They will come out at times throughout the day to sunbathe. They live around streams and lakes and have no problem being in water. Their quills are long and hollow, so they can be in water safely. Here are a few facts about the porcupine.

Crested porcupine

crested porcupine
crested porcupine

The Crested porcupine is part of the Old World porcupine while the American porcupine is from the New World family. Crested porcupine forages on the ground exclusively while American porcupines are nocturnal and can climb trees. An adult American porcupine can have up to 30,000 quills on their body.

Member of the Vertebrae Family

They are from the Animalia kingdom and they do have vertebrae, so this makes that a part of the Vertebrae Family. If a group of them stay together they are call a family of porcupines. There are in the rodent species and can live for about 18 long years. Their diet mainly consists of bark. They will also eat fir, hemlock, willow trees, clovers, and even wildflowers. They usually weigh from approximately two pounds to 40 pounds. The habitat that they desire is one filled with pine leaves and ones that have rock ledges so they can set up their dens to have their babies in.

Closeup of a porcupine’s quill
Closeup of a porcupine’s quill

When do they reach sexual maturity age?

Porcupines reach sexual maturity at the age of about 2 years old. This runs about 25 months for females, and about 29 months for the males. Once a porcupine is impregnated, the gestational age for the birth is 210 days. If you head to the west, you will find that porcupines over there have almost a yellow color to them. Their relatives in the East tend to be of a shade of brown that ranges from light to dark.

A newborn porcupine

A newborn porcupine will have very soft quills. After they have been born, the quills will naturally begin to harden. This provides protection for the young one as well. They usually breed in late fall months of October and November. The females are typically the dominant ones regarding their claimed territory. When they feel they are in danger, porcupines will begin to shake themselves and a sound like a rattle can be heard. They turn their backs on the enemy as they propel the quills into their flesh.

Porcupines eating habit

Porcupines are definitely gnawers. Sometimes they will destroy tool handles made of wood. They will chew on just about anything they can grip. Porcupines are a slow moving animal that only has their quills as a defense mechanism. The barbed quills will cause pain as they go into the target and as they exit their target. Most predators need only one warning from these creatures.

African porcupines

The African ones, called Crested Porcupines, have black and white stripes that are similar to a zebra pattern. Typically, porcupines stay huddled in groups, or have their own families near them. Porcupines do very well with staying hidden most of the lives. They make a home and tend to stay in that general area for most of their lifetimes.

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