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