The North American porcupine is solitary for most of its life, only seeking the company of other porcupines in the fall for the purpose of mating. On the whole, porcupines appear dark brown to black, with dorsal guard hairs and quills that contain bands of yellow. The African crested porcupine is the largest porcupine in the world. The North American porcupine is a rodent with black to brownish-yellow fur and quills all over its round body, except for its stomach. The North American porcupine is mostly arboreal (tree-dwelling), spending much of its life foraging for food in the trees. Males respond and will join her in the tree where she is perched. The North American Porcupine is a well-known New World rodent. Common Name: North American porcupine. The North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), a common New World porcupine, is second in size behind the beaver as one of the largest rodents in North America. Family: Erethizontidae. They are good swimmers with the hollow quills helping to keep it afloat. During the summer, they eat twigs, roots, stems, berries, and other vegetation. Its head and body are 25 to 40 inches long, with a long, thick, muscular tail growing as long as 8 inches. North American porcupines are sexually dimorphic, with males being larger than females. Kingdom: Â Animalia ActiveWild.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon stores. Rodents make up about 40% of all the mammal species on Earth. Porcupine quills may be as dense as 150 quills per square inch (6.4 square centimeters). In the wild, a porcupine's average lifespan is 5-7 years. Buford was considered too imprinted to be released so Idaho Fish and Game collected the animal and found placement for him at Zoo Idaho. They are found throughout Canada and the western United States south to Mexico. The larges would be male ane the smalls would be female. Porcupines over 12 years show diminished feeding and are usually smaller in size. During the winter they primarily eat evergreen needles and tree bark. Porcupines have strong, short legs and their feet have hairless soles to help it climb trees. About. All of our animal products are sourced from other industries. (It’s completely free, you can unsubscribe at any time, and we’ll never share your details.). The white patches in the quills can be easily seen at night. It makes its den in caves, decaying logs and hollow trees. North American Porcupines live up to 18 years. Click on the photo below to discover this week’s animal! The most recognizable feature of the porcupine is its quills. Their fur ranges in color from brownish-yellow to black, and they sport white highlights in their quills. All New World porcupines are arboreal and have significant adaptations that help them to move around in the trees; these include prehensile tails for gripping branches, and a fleshy pad on each hind foot used to grip. It will either return to a den on the ground during the daytime or remain in the tree to rest. Family: Â Erethizontidae 671 Sample size Medium Data quality Acceptable Observations. Here's the truth: the quills are made of keratin like your hair and fingernails. Porcupines start in their moms stomach, just like us. In the spring/summer porcupines eat berries, seeds, grasses, leaves, roots, and stems. Newborns weigh between 14 and 18 oz. The porcupine inhabits a diverse range of habitats, including deciduous forests, coniferous forests, woodlands, scrublands, grasslands, and even tundra. Porcupines have an average lifespan of 6 to 18 years. The North American porcupine is strictly herbivorous and depends on trees for its food. Click the picture above for more details & to view free sample pages! Lifespan. Apart from the strong, curved claws on its feet, the North American porcupine has few specialized adaptations to enable it to grasp branches or move about in the tree tops. This is highly painful and potentially dangerous for the predator; the embedded quills can work themselves further into the flesh and become infected. It is an herbivorous animal with pines, or quills, as they are called, all across their body, except the face, underbelly and limbs. Pocupines hive a live birth. It lives in hilly, rocky habitats in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and Italy. (Kurta, 1995; Roze, 1989) Individuals range in length from 24 to 36 inches, and weigh between 10 and 30 lbs. Porcupine longevity is probably limited by the life of their grinding teeth. Porcupines live to about 10 to 15 years, then they die. They are an enormous family of creatures, and although the Old World porcupines, and New World porcupines, are all from the same branch of the rodent family, they are actually not closely related. The hollow quills allow porcupines to stay afloat in water. The outermost layer comprises around 30,000 sharp quills. The North American porcupine is a solitary animal, although it may den with other porcupines in the winter. Here they compete for dominance. North American porcupines have over 30,000 modified hairs called quills covering their bodies. Porcupines may be active in the day but are mostly nocturnal. Class: Â Mammalia The quills cover the porcupine’s body and tail. North American Porcupine Range and Habitat. Porcupines leave at around 12 months of age and they start mating at around 18 months of age. The North American porcupine is a member of the family Erethizontidae, a diverse group of rodents otherwise known as “New World porcupines”. The conservation status of the North American porcupine is Least Concern. A single animal may have 30,000 or more quills. Its skull is heavily constructed; the small, rounded head h… Mating itself takes place on the ground. The animal has short legs and heavy built. Males respond and will join her in the tree where she is perched. Rodent Facts: The Ultimate Guide To The Order Rodentia, A to Z Animals List With Pictures, Facts & Information for Kids & Students, North American Bird ID Quiz App For Android: Available Now From The Play Store, American Crocodile Facts, Pictures & In-Depth Information, Axolotl Facts For Kids: Information, Pictures & Video, Animals That Start With W: List With Pictures & Facts, Bobcat Facts, Pictures, Video & Information. If threatened it will turn its back to the predator and raise its quills. Fantastic Fact Despite the sharp, spiny quills of a North American porcupine, they are still preyed upon by mountain lions, cougars, foxes and fishers. The major difference between Old and New world species is that the Old World porcupines live on the ground and often in small groups, while the New World porcupin… The species is widespread throughout Canada and the western United States. The North American porcupine is solitary for most of its life, only seeking the company of other porcupines in the fall for the purpose of mating. Scientific Name: Erethizon dorsatum. LIFE SPAN: 5 - 7 years. The porcupine doesn’t hibernate, but it may stay in its den during bad weather. Length: Â 2â3 ft (60-90 cm) Porcupines breed only once a year with males competing for pre-estrous females. Being a rodent, the North American porcupine has large incisor teeth, with which it gnaws its food. Its quills are soft at birth, but harden within a few days. North American Porcupine Facts At A Glance, What Does A North American Porcupine Look Like. Fun Facts. The second-largest rodent in North America, this porcupine species grows to be around 20 pounds and 2-3 feet in length. Active Wild Pinterest Active Wild Facebook. They weigh 9 to 15 pounds, with bigger, older adults weighing up to 20 pounds. Predators can get through the porcupine’s defenses by flipping the rodent onto its back, thereby exposing its soft belly, which is not protected with quills. A family of porcupines is called a prickle—really! Species: Â Erethizon dorsatum. North American Porcupine Life Cycle. If they are unable to wear down their teeth, they will continue to grow inward and eventually result in the animal’s starvation. In Maryland, for example, the species is considered to be in need of conservation, while in Mexico it is listed as an endangered species. It has a small head, a large, chunky body with a high arching back and short legs. north american porcupine. The New World porcupines are more closely related to other New World families of rodents, such as guinea pigs, chinchillas, agoutis and coypus, than they are to the Old World porcupine species of Africa, southern Europe, India and southeast Asia. By October, when the female mates again, the young are fully weaned and wander off to face the winter alone. A characteristic of rodents is that their incisor teeth never stop growing, meaning that they can gnaw on tough plant material their whole lives with no fear that their teeth will eventually wear down. With an extensive range, they can be found in varied climates, and at varied elevations. Although (contrary to popular belief) a porcupine cannot physically shoot its quills from its body, it will flick its quilled tail towards a predator’s face. Porcupines live in open tundra, deciduous forests, and desert chaparral. Porcupine longevity is probably limited by the life of their grinding teeth. RANGE: Porcupines are found across most of the forested areas in Alaska, with the exception of Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska, and the neighboring islands to the west. Wildlife officials say porcupines are extending their range south into more counties in West Virginia. The most obvious trait is the long, sharp quills that cover their bodies. Mothers have one or two babies. The New World porcupines first appeared on the fossil record about 30 million years ago. Sex: Male They make shake them, which makes them rattle, as a warning to potential predators. Reproduction. The fisher is the only habitual predator of the porcupine, and may suppress populations of this rodent. In addition, the range of this species is the northernmost of all porcupines. Gestation is 210 days, after which a female gives birth to a single offspring. SIZE: North American porcupines reach 40 pounds as adults, with some variation. During the winter they primarily eat evergreen needles and tree bark. Dens are made in hollow logs, caves, tree stumps, or disused burrows. It is North America’s second-heaviest rodent, weighing only slightly less on average than the North American beaver. The animal is mostly nocturnal and is an herbivore, meaning it eats only vegetation. Porcupines are relatively long lived and can live up to about 18 years in the wild. The North American porcupine is the second largest rodent species found in North America. Join the thousands of Active Wild subscribers who receive free wildlife and science news & info direct to their inboxes! It eats tender twigs, shoots, buds, bark, seeds and berries from a variety of trees. Males are larger than females. Porcupines are relatively long-lived animals that can live up to 18 years in the wild. The North American porcupine is one of the few New World porcupines found in North America, and the only one found north of Mexico. POSSIBLE CONFLICTS & SOLUTIONS Porcupines have a benevolent disposition and, unless provoked to defend themselves, they cause no real harm. It weighs from 10 to 40 pounds. In the spring/summer porcupines eat berries, seeds, grasses, leaves, roots, and stems. Lancelot is the name of the North American porcupine who resides in the Ralph Perkins II Wildlife Center & Woods Garden (presented by KeyBank) at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.. Lifespan Wild: 5-7 years Captivity: 15-20 years Fun Facts. Even though they are docile and gentle creatures, they can only suffer population declines as humans continue to encroach into their habitats. Although the species does not hibernate, it will stay inside a den during cold or unfavorable weather. This is an adaptation to warn other animals that the porcupine is well protected and won’t be an easy meal! Porcupines have four incisors—two above and two below that are bright orange, strong and adapted to gnawing. It has black to brownish-yellow fur and strong, short legs. In some regions, however, the porcupine spends as much, or even more, time on the ground. Like all porcupines, the North American porcupine has a coat of sharp quills. Porcupines are selective in their eating; for example out of every 1,000 trees in the Catskill Mountains, porcupines will only eat from 1-2 linden trees and one big toothed aspen. Discover A Stealthy North American Predator, North American Porcupine Facts: Discover North America’s Second-Largest Rodent, Nine-Banded Armadillo Facts, Pictures & In-Depth Information, Bighorn Sheep Facts: Discover The Largest Sheep Native To North America. Baby porcupines have soft quills that begin hardening about an hour after birth. Read on for more North American porcupine facts…. A receptive female advertises her availability by secreting a special scent. The North American Porcupine is a large rodent, the only rodent on the North American continent that is larger is the beaver. It has hairless soles on its feet that help it climb trees. LIFE SPAN: 15 years under human managed care. You can find out more about rodents on this page. The North American porcupine has over 30,000 quills! These animals appear to have a remarkably long life span in the wild, living up to 18 years . Currently, seven different subspecies of the North American porcupine are recognized. The North American porcupine is nocturnal, foraging in the trees during the darkness of night. Some quills can get up to a foot (30 centimeters) long, like those on the Africa's crested porcupine, according to National Geographic. A dominant male breeds with a number of different females, but only when the females are willing. The North American porcupine’s most distinctive feature is its spiny coat, which consists of around 30,000 sharp quills. It is cared for by its mother, who soon teaches it to climb trees and to forage on its own. The North American porcupine can live for 23 years, while South America's prehensile-tailed porcupine can go four years longer. Genus: Â Erethizon The quilled coat is dark brown to grey in color and has a grizzled appearance due to the bands of black and white on the quills. Breeding occurs in October and November. Buford came to Zoo Idaho from Idaho Fish and Game after he was found in Pocatello. This species of porcupines are endangered because due to hunting and also because of loss of habitat. Its head is relatively small, its legs are stocky, and it has strong, curved claws on all four feet. Young are nursed for about 127 days and become independent of their mothers at approximately 5 months of age, but are not sexual mature until the age of 25 months for females, and 29 months for males. The North American porcupine is the second-largest rodent found in North America (the largest is the North American beaver). The earliest North American porcupine fossil was found at a site in central Mexico, and dates to 2.5 million years ago. Quills extend from head to tail on the dorsal surface. North American porcupine predators include fishers (carnivores in the weasel family), coyotes, wolves, bobcats and cougars. Adult porcupines are about 30 inches in length, including a 6- to 10-inch tail. Males are larger than females. The porcupine is the second largest rodent in North America, second only to the beaver. Lifespan/Longevity. The North American Porcupine is the second largest of all rodents. The potential life span is 10 years. However, there are regions in which the species’ population has declined. The front half of the body exhibits long, yellowish guard hairs. The North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) is the second-largest rodent in North America, beat out only by the beaver, according to the University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology. It is a very vocal animal and has a wide-variety of calls including moans, grunts, coughs, wails, whines, shrieks and tooth clicking. The North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) has the most northerly range of all porcupines.After the beaver the the North Amerincan porcupine is the second largest rodent in North America. The family currently consists of around 18 species. If that doesn't work, they may charge backwards into the predator. Long, yellowish guard hairs cover the front half of its body while up to 30,000 quills are interspersed among the dark, coarse guard hairs of the back and tai… The North American porcupine is a rodent. Porcupines are generalists, eating a wide range of plant material depending upon season. They damage trees in plantations and in people’s gardens, and often gnaw on garden sheds, wooden porches, gardening tools, and even old boots. The porcupine is North America’s second largest rodent; only the beaver is bigger. In the winter, they mainly eat conifer needles and tree bark. It is distinguished by its stout, slow, lumbering form and by its spiny coat. Category: Porcupine. A porcupine … A receptive female advertises her availability by secreting a special scent. Phylum: Â Chordata Each subspecies occurs in a different locality, and shows minor differences in size, weight and coloration. The quills, which are actually modified hairs, serve as a defense against predators. Female porcupines reach sexual maturity at around 2 years and males at 2.5 years. Adult porcupines wei… The quills are barbed and easily detached, meaning that the would-be predator can quite easily find itself with either a face-full or paw-full of quills. They are hollow and provide insulation against the cold. In one museum collection of porcupine skeletons, a researcher recorded that 30 per cent of the individuals had evidence of fractured bones; no doubt sustained from falling out of trees. The porcupine lives mostly in forests, deserts, and grasslands in the northern part of North America, with a lifespan of about 30 years. Porcupines are also common from Wisconsin to New York and New England. The North American porcupine can do substantial damage to trees by eating their bark, a behavior that can bring the species into conflict with humans. The North American porcupine’s coat consists of three distinct layers; an inner, woolly layer is closest to the skin, followed by a layer of longer guard hairs. A greasy coating on porcupine quills contains antibiotics, possibly to protect the animal from infection if it is accidentally pricked by its own quills. North American Porcupine. Are New World Porcupines Related To Old World Porcupines? Being hollow, the quills also provide buoyancy, which enables a porcupine to swim well. Predators: Many animals occasionally kill porcupines, especially young ones. The North American Porcupine is best known for and made distinguishable by its spiny quills that cover its body. Some predators are known to have died from wounds caused by a porcupine’s quills. The North American porcupine is the only species that lives in the U.S. and Canada, and is the largest of all porcupines. Follow the link below to find out more and to sign up! The North American porcupine is a slow moving, stoutly-built animal. In addition, they are hunted in some places, and chased away in others. Other new world porcupines include the Brazilian porcupine (Coendou prehensilis), and the Mexican hairy dwarf porcupine (Coendou mexicanus). The Pocupines Life Cycle. In fact, North American porcupines regularly fall out of the trees, and this can lead to death.