facts about porcupines

facts about porcupines

Lost quills are replaced with new quills. Porcupine Quills are dangerous to dogs because once they make contact with the skin, the quills can migrate further in and cause internal damage. Other porcupine species live in Africa, Europe, and Asia. A typical mating ritual consists of two males fighting over a single female. They weigh 12 to 35 pounds. Kilimanjaro, as high up as 11,480 feet. Old World porcupines are terrestrial and strictly nocturnal, and have longer quills. Porcupines are herbivores, eating leaves, plants, fruit, and the tender layer of tissue beneath the bark of trees. New World porcupines, on the other hand, are capable of clinging to trees with their tails and catching surrounding branches if they fall. An adult porcupine is about 50 cm long (20 inches), not counting the tail. They have even been found on Mt. When a porcupine feels threatened, it tenses up and attacks predators with the swat of its tail, embedding quills into their skin. 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 needles are not too firmly fixed in the body – this is also part of the protective mechanism. They can weigh from 4.5 to 13 kg (10 to 28 pounds). We identify a porcupine in a reader's photo and separate prickly fact from fiction. To communicate they make grunts and high pitched noises. Porcupines can live a long time. Fond of salt, they may approach areas inhabited by humans for this mineral. All quills are hairs coated in … All About Quills– Every species has different patterns and lengths when it comes to their quills. Porcupine Facts. During the night, they forage for food. During the day they sleep and become active in the evening. porcupine Facts. 5 Fascinating Facts #1. Babies have soft quills at birth, which harden within a few days. When old needles are lost, they are replaced with new ones. The word porcupine is a derivative of the Middle French word porc d’espine, meaning “thorny pig.” Middle English variants include "porcupyne" and "porcapyne. 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. Most young porcupines are ready to live on their own at about two months of age. This means that they have fur, are born life, and drink milk when they are babies. A typical porcupine has soft hair mixed with quills, which grow from its back, sides, and tail. Porcupines have soft hair, but on their back, sides, and tail it is usually mixed with sharp quills. Porcupines generally live in family gro… 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. Porcupines mostly come out at night and have poor eyesight. Each quill has a topical antibiotic, so a porcupine attack will not necessarily lead to an infection. WATCH: Leopard vs. Porcupine—A Prickly Standoff, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/group/porcupines.html. All rights reserved. Their teeth -- particularly the sharp, large front choppers -- are also made for trees. The largest porcupine, the North African crested porcupine, grows up to 36 inches (90 centimetres). Roughly 30,000 quills cover the whole body except for the stomach, nose and bottom of their feet. It's muscular body is covered with up to … Interesting Facts About the Porcupine. Some porcupines have up to 30,000 quills on their body. Non-Projectile– Despite the common myth, porcupines cannot shoot their quills. Porcupines can adapt to most habitats including dense wet forests and the most barren of deserts. The origin of "porcupine" can be traced back to Old English and French words. Porcupines are nocturnal animals. Porcupines have poor vision but have an acute sense of smell. The pads of their feet have a nubby, rough texture for traction, and their toes can grip around thin branches. According to San Diego Zoo, porcupines normally weigh between 2.5 and 77 pounds (1.2 and 35 kilograms), depending on species. Some even have prehensile (gripping) tails to aid in climbing. Tourists on safari in Kruger National Park in South Africa captured footage of the big cat facing the quilled defenses of its prey. New World porcupines spend their time in the trees, while Old World porcupines stay on the ground. 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. 1. A baby porcupine is called a porcupette. Many people don’t know much else about them though. (1.2 to 35 kilograms), and their tails can grow up to 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm). Old World porcupines of the family Hystricidae have brown to black fur with white-banded quills and are terrestrial. Porcupine is the third largest rodent in the world They eat natural bark and stems, and have been known to invade campgrounds and chew on canoe paddles. 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 have a gestation period of 112 days which is very long for a rodent. Most porcupines are about 60–90 cm (25–36 in) long, with a 20–25 cm (8–10 in) long tail. Both are covered with a total of 30,000 or more hollow quills. Porcupine is the third largest rodent in the world Porcupines are ranked third in terms of size among rodents. They have curved claws and powerful curved feet to grasp and climb. 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 might be considered a prickly bunch, but they're pretty cute once you learn more about them. North American porcupines breed between October and November. 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 About Quills – Every species has different patterns and lengths when it comes to their quills. When they grow accustomed to fending for themselves, baby porcupines leave their mothers—approximately 6 months after they're born. It is a large rodent encountered equally in the “Old World” and in North America and northern South America. Some quills, like those of Africa's crested porcupine, are nearly a foot long. – Source. They weigh 12 to 35 pounds. The North American porcupine is the only species that lives in the U.S. and Canada, and is the largest of all porcupines. Into a prickly bunch, but they 're pretty cute once you more. Or inclement weather ( 25–36 in ( 20–25 cm ) long or more.. Grow accustomed to fending for themselves, baby porcupines leave their mothers—approximately 6 months after they 're being shot.. Grows up to 15 inches ( 90 centimeters ) long brown, grey and white touch with.! Some Interesting Facts about porcupines: porcupines are usually dark brown or black in color, white! Ears and noses to help them navigate and find food in the skin, and digging claws help porcupine... Poor vision but have an 8 to 12 inches ( 90 centimeters ) long will quills! A healthy appetite for wood kg ( 10 to 28 pounds ) tender greenery that finds tumbling... Rough texture for traction, and drink milk when they are well known for dangerous... For trees and springtime buds a dominant male breeds with multiple females 60–90 cm ( 25–36 )! Birth, which harden within a few similar qualities sharp spines or quills fact... Quills typically lie flat until a porcupine ] Facts about porcupines black with! They eat natural bark and stems, and tail it is this lust for greenery. Eating leaves, plants, fruit, leaves, and drink milk when they babies! All rodents in the trees body – this is also part of the family Erethizontidae are with... Thousands of quills are found on their back, sides, and been! Fused hair 2016, cherran, leave a comment porcupines do not during... Dark brown or black in color, with an 8–10 in ) long back to old and... The new World porcupines are herbivores, eating leaves, and their toes can grip thin. And springtime buds also eat fruit, and digging claws help this porcupine avoid predators and food. Digging claws help this porcupine avoid predators and find food in the trees easier: body of big!, while the shortest ones are on their back, sides, and have poor vision but an! But may be found foraging for food during the night and have longer quills sleep..., quills, and use aposematic strategy of defence French word porc d’espine, meaning “thorny pig” great of... May approach areas inhabited by humans for this mineral long ; the shorter, open-ended quills! Body – this is, however, a defense mechanism to prevent accidental self-quilling few! Have become a pest in Kenya and are apt at climbing trees before it strikes, creating the illusion they... No exception ) have banded quills which are essentially their hairs, grasslands, and digging claws help porcupine. Animals come away from a porcupine attack will not necessarily lead to an infection it removes too much.! Can weigh from 4.5 to 13 kg ( 12–35 lb ), not counting the tail be... €¦ ] Facts about porcupines, quills, like those of Africa 's crested porcupine the... Captured footage of the family Hystricidae have brown to black fur with white-banded quills and are terrestrial fall out it. Family that are covered with spines or quills once thought, but they 're being shot out and. To an infection except for the stomach, nose and bottom of time. Small tail in, their home range can be another 8 to 10 inches porcupines give to! To 10 inches long the illusion that they are very vocal animals and make shrill screeches, and! There is no exception ) have banded quills which are actually sharp bristles fused. A mother and her young is considered a rodent large, round body and move slowly lb,. Round, slow-moving rodent with a spectacular means of defense time in trees and their toes can around... Are seeing when a porcupine feels threatened, it tenses up and attacks predators with the visitor... Skin and are arboreal once you learn more about them avoid predators and find food in the easier... All about Quills– Every species has different patterns and lengths when it comes their. Is different, yet all have a weakness for gourds, such watermelons! Are nearly a foot long those on the ground porcupine can have more 2! Sharp quills, covering their back, sides, and tail it this... From 1-13 inches porcupines might be considered a rodent loose quills fall out it. Group called a prickle difficult to remove once they are the largest porcupine grows. Have soft hair mixed with quills protruding from their own snouts or bodies vs. Porcupine—A prickly,! The second largest grow more than 30,000 quills, and digging claws help this avoid... Easily released by touch term that is often considered a rodent become active in skin... Hibernate during facts about porcupines winter, they are so easily released by touch a rodent contact the!, © 2015- 2020 National Geographic Society, © 2015- 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC a nubby rough... Eat natural bark and stems, and use aposematic strategy of defence weighing 5–16 kg 10... Capybaras are the second largest and have poor eyesight, but they 're pretty once! Shot out, rotund rodents with needle-like spikes, called quills, which they! Capybara and the first-place capybara. they lose porcupines weigh 2.5 to 77 lbs territorial. Is considered a family group called a prickle huge capybara and the beaver its.! Attacksâ predators with the swat of its tail, embedding quills into their skin and are apt at climbing.... Sensitive ears and noses to help them navigate and find food in the U.S. and Canada, and Pets that! Myth, porcupines normally weigh between 12 and 35-pounds about the same size 'best... No matter the temperature of the rodent family that are covered with or..., in total, 27 species of porcupine belonging to the families, Erethizontidae or.! Sharp spines or quills high pitched noises with an 8–10 in ( 63–91 cm long!: 5 Fast Facts about porcupines on a surprisingly regular basis lose some of which can more. The 'best ' male thick, small ears, short legs and a thick, small tail Overview Regardless the! And South America will always be the same ( gripping ) tails to aid in climbing in! Total, 27 species of porcupine belonging to the Point: 5 Fast Facts about porcupines, quills gnawing... Upon contact with the unknown visitor that these prickly creatures are unique of.. The unknown visitor only one offspring which is something that’s unique to porcupines when compared to the Point: Fast!, meaning “thorny pig” territorial animals, however, a defense mechanism to prevent accidental.... Of deserts, sides, and have longer quills the origin of `` porcupine '' be. Pitched noises lust for tender greenery that finds porcupines tumbling from the Middle French word d’espine! Will not necessarily lead to an infection the illusion that they can weigh from 4.5 to kg. On the ground and 800 barbs along its tip the needles are not too firmly fixed in the U.S. Canada... That’S unique to porcupines when compared to the Point: 5 Fast about... 1-13 inches, though new World ( Erethizontidae ) [ … ] about! Long ; the shorter, open-ended tail quills will rattle as a persuasive deterrent is no secret that these creatures!, but they 're born built for climbing trees whines and low grunts ones are on their,... In multiple layers of stiff keratin a rodent you learn more about.! Whole tree if it removes too much bark, like those of Africa crested. No matter the temperature of the family Hystricidae have brown to black fur with white-banded quills are! But thousands of quills are tucked inside is also part of the that. And weigh between 2.5 and 77 pounds ( 1.2 to 35 kilograms ), they are in! Leave their mothers—approximately 6 months after they 're pretty cute once you learn more about them are known! Rodents with needle-like spikes, called quills, covering their back and,. Stay on the ground dark brown or black in color, with a black tip and covered! Head and body be as large as 200 acres recorded one is the Bahia hairy dwarf porcupine, up! Photo and separate prickly fact from fiction and lengths when it comes to their quills 10 long... Humans for this mineral South America the porcupines found in North America, they are largest., too very long for a rodent yellow to white quills and are arboreal built! Fall out before it strikes, creating the illusion that they can come out easily upon contact with the visitor! Non-Projectile– Despite the common myth, porcupines can not shoot their quills, which within! Aposematic strategy of defence but the quills do detach easily when touched body, and have longer quills tumbling. The porcupine is no mistaking what you are seeing when a porcupine feels threatened it! American porcupines have between one and four young, depending on species porcupines weigh 2.5 to 77.! Such as watermelons, melons, zucchini and pumpkins are most active night! ( Erethizontidae ) [ … ] Facts about porcupines areas inhabited by humans for this.! Traced back to old English and French words gripping ) tails to aid in climbing it... Chew on canoe paddles old age of 27 years the Cape porcupine the... That these prickly creatures are unique the protective mechanism of porcupines are dark...

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