North American Porcupine

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Scientific Name
Erethizon dorsatum


Wild: 5-10 years
Captivity: 15 years

25-40 inches

Average Weight
12-15 lbs

Group Name
Prickle or Herd

Group Size
Often solitary

Name of Young

We Eat:
We Live:
We Are:Common

Did you know?

  • Porcupines are the second largest rodents in North America, the largest being the beaver. Their most notable feature is their quills, which serve as a defense mechanism.
  • Quills are actually very sharp, hollow hairs with sharp fish-hook like barbs. They cannot throw their quills, but can raise them and try to strike predators with their tail. The quills’ barbed ends hook into the skin of the attacker and become lodged in its skin resulting in a fatal infection.
  • North American porcupines have antibiotics in their skin. They are the only mammal native to North America that has this adaptation. This helps prevent infections if they injure themselves with their own quills.

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