Porcupines are mammals. This means that they have fur, are born life, and drink milk when they are babies.
It also means that they are warm-blooded.
Warm-blooded animals are able to regulate their body temperature.
This means that no matter the temperature of the environment that the porcupine is in, their internal temperature will always be the same.
This allows them to live in much colder climates than cold-blooded animals.
Porcupines are rodents
Porcupines belong to the rodent animal family. This means that they are related to squirrels, mice, rats, and rabbits.
Rodents are known to gnaw or chew, on hard surfaces constantly. This is because their front teeth never stop growing.
If they are not worn away or chewed down, they will grow so large that the rodent could not eat or close their mouth.
Porcupines can be found in both North and South America, as well as in Africa.
They are adept climbers and prefer to live in trees. This means that they are a mostly arboreal animal.
If they cannot find a den in a tree, they will make one on the ground.
They might live in a cave, hollow log, or under a shed.
Porcupines are not graceful animals and prefer to stay hidden when possible.
What are quills?
They have a highly specialized defense system to help keep them safe from predators.
They can be covered in as many as 30,000 quills, which are like spikes on their tail.
These quills are very sharp, and perfect for defense.
The quills are mostly found on a porcupine’s tail. The rest of the porcupine’s body is covered in soft hair.
Most of the time, the quills on a porcupine will lie flat.
However, if a porcupine feels threated, they will turn their quills towards the threat and raise them up.
Porcupines are not able to shoot their quills out in defense.
If a predator gets too close, however, the quills will easily detach from the porcupine and get stuck in the predator.
The quills are barbed on the end, like a fish hook.
This makes them very difficult to remove, and very painful. Porcupines will grow new quills to replace the old ones.
How big are porcupines?
Porcupines are not large animals. They weigh anywhere from 12 to 35 lbs. They can be up to four feet in length, though most of them are usually only about three feet long.
Porcupines are vocal creatures. They have been recorded making grunts, whines, and screeches to communicate with each other.
Fun Facts About Porcupines
Like most forest dwellers, porcupines are nocturnal. This means that they prefer to sleep during the day and be up and moving during the night.
Porcupines do not live for very long in the wild, as they usually only live about five to seven years.
In captivity, however, they have been known to make it all the way to 18 years.
Porcupines are herbivores. This means that they only eat plants.
They will eat things like shrubs, flowers, bark, grasses, and leaves.
Females only ever give birth to one baby at a time.
The baby will stay with their mother for about four months before they begin living on their own. Baby porcupines are called “porcupettes.”