North American porcupines are slow and rather lumbering; they suffer mortality from falling out of trees, and are often killed on roads as they move around in the night. It has hairless soles on its feet that help it climb trees. The 300,000 quills that cover a North American porcupine's body are its best defense—but not the way you may think! A common myth is that porcupines can "shoot" their quills at a predator; but they can't. North American porcupine predators include fishers (carnivores in the weasel family), coyotes, wolves, bobcats and cougars. North American Porcupines live up to 18 years. 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… News and facts about animals, natural history and science. A single animal may have 30,000 or more quills. 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. 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. The North American porcupine’s most distinctive feature is its spiny coat, which consists of around 30,000 sharp quills. Newborns weigh between 14 and 18 oz. Porcupines have an average lifespan of 6 to 18 years. 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. Adult porcupines wei… The North American porcupine is one of the few New World porcupines found in North America, and the only one found north of Mexico. If they are unable to wear down their teeth, they will continue to grow inward and eventually result in the animal’s starvation. Follow the link below to find out more and to sign up! Some quills can get up to a foot (30 centimeters) long, like those on the Africa's crested porcupine, according to National Geographic. Being hollow, the quills also provide buoyancy, which enables a porcupine to swim well. Length:  2–3 ft (60-90 cm) 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. Family:  Erethizontidae The hollow quills allow porcupines to stay afloat in water. Most New World Porcupines are found in South America. 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. 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. Adult porcupines are about 30 inches in length, including a 6- to 10-inch tail. Copyright © 2020 ActiveWild.com. Males are larger than females. Even with their formidable spiny defence the North American porcupine is preyed upon successfully by several predators including mountain lions and fishers. The conservation status of the North American porcupine is Least Concern. The porcupine is North America’s second largest rodent; only the beaver is bigger. 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. Sex: Male Order:  Rodentia Class:   Mammalia The North American porcupine is a rodent with black to brownish-yellow fur and quills all over its round body, except for its stomach. Category: Porcupine. You can find out more about rodents on this page. The North American porcupine is the second largest rodent in North America, outsized only by beavers. 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. Here's the truth: the quills are made of keratin like your hair and fingernails. This is an adaptation to warn other animals that the porcupine is well protected and won’t be an easy meal! (Kurta, 1995; Roze, 1989) Range lifespan Status: wild 18 (high) years; Average lifespan A family of porcupines is called a prickle—really! Kingdom:  Animalia Phylum:  Chordata North American porcupines are sexually dimorphic, with males being larger than females. Female porcupines reach sexual maturity at around 2 years and males at 2.5 years. Porcupines may be active in the day but are mostly nocturnal. The white patches in the quills can be easily seen at night. Genus:  Erethizon It is a very vocal animal and has a wide-variety of calls including moans, grunts, coughs, wails, whines, shrieks and tooth clicking. It will either return to a den on the ground during the daytime or remain in the tree to rest. North American porcupines have over 30,000 modified hairs called quills covering their bodies. It is an herbivorous animal with pines, or quills, as they are called, all across their body, except the face, underbelly and limbs. The North American Porcupine is a large rodent, the only rodent on the North American continent that is larger is the beaver. Porcupines live to about 10 to 15 years, then they die. Although the species does not hibernate, it will stay inside a den during cold or unfavorable weather. About. LIFE SPAN: 15 years under human managed care. Common Name: North American porcupine. Porcupine longevity is probably limited by the life of their grinding teeth. 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. The North American porcupine is found from northern Mexico to Alaska. Quills extend from head to tail on the dorsal surface. Tall:  6-12 in (15-30 cm). The North American porcupine is nocturnal, foraging in the trees during the darkness of night. The porcupine is the second largest rodent in North America, second only to the beaver. Porcupines live in open tundra, deciduous forests, and desert chaparral. This is highly painful and potentially dangerous for the predator; the embedded quills can work themselves further into the flesh and become infected. In the eastern United States, the species is present in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Maryland. Being a rodent, the North American porcupine has large incisor teeth, with which it gnaws its food. 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. Birthday: August 1, 2013 All Rights Reserved. Porcupine quills may be as dense as 150 quills per square inch (6.4 square centimeters). If threatened it will turn its back to the predator and raise its quills. The North American porcupine is a solitary animal, although it may den with other porcupines in the winter. In fact, North American porcupines regularly fall out of the trees, and this can lead to death. 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. It has a small head, a large, chunky body with a high arching back and short legs. Fantastic Fact Despite the sharp, spiny quills of a North American porcupine, they are still preyed upon by mountain lions, cougars, foxes and fishers. Paleontologists estimate that the North American porcupine crossed from South To North America, via the Isthmus of Panama, during the late Tertiary period, approximately 3 million years ago. North American Porcupine Facts At A Glance, What Does A North American Porcupine Look Like. The porcupine doesn’t hibernate, but it may stay in its den during bad weather. 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. North American Porcupine. north american porcupine. The potential life span is 10 years. The larges would be male ane the smalls would be female. Its head and body are 25 to 40 inches long, with a long, thick, muscular tail growing as long as 8 inches. In the wild, a porcupine's average lifespan is 5-7 years. Gestation is 210 days, after which a female gives birth to a single offspring. Buford came to Zoo Idaho from Idaho Fish and Game after he was found in Pocatello. The North American porcupine uses its quills as defense against predators. Porcupines over 12 years show diminished feeding and are usually smaller in size. In addition, predatory birds such as eagles and owls prey on porcupines. Porcupines leave at around 12 months of age and they start mating at around 18 months of age. Weight:  11-20 lbs (5-14 kg) with females being smaller The outermost layer comprises around 30,000 sharp quills. Click the picture above for more details & to view free sample pages! A dominant male breeds with a number of different females, but only when the females are willing. In some regions, however, the porcupine spends as much, or even more, time on the ground. 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 fisher is the only habitual predator of the porcupine, and may suppress populations of this rodent. Flying Squirrels Facts: Meet The Gliding Rodents Of North America! It makes its den in caves, decaying logs and hollow trees. The Pocupines Life Cycle. The North American porcupine is a rodent. It weighs from 10 to 40 pounds. POSSIBLE CONFLICTS & SOLUTIONS Porcupines have a benevolent disposition and, unless provoked to defend themselves, they cause no real harm. A receptive female advertises her availability by secreting a special scent. 671 Sample size Medium Data quality Acceptable Observations. Short-legged and stout, a porcupine has a pronounced arch to its back. They are hollow and provide insulation against the cold. The North American porcupine is the second largest rodent species found in North America. The earliest North American porcupine fossil was found at a site in central Mexico, and dates to 2.5 million years ago. The North American porcupine is strictly herbivorous and depends on trees for its food. A greasy coating on porcupine quills contains antibiotics, possibly to protect the animal from infection if it is accidentally pricked by its own quills. The North American porcupine is the second-largest rodent found in North America (the largest is the North American beaver). Another defensive option for the porcupine is to simply escape to the safety of a tree. They have ever-growing teeth that are worn down by chewing on wood. By October, when the female mates again, the young are fully weaned and wander off to face the winter alone. LIFE SPAN: 5 - 7 years. However, there are regions in which the species’ population has declined. Quills are hairs with solid, barbed tips and hollow shafts, and a porcupine has an estimated 30,000. The North American Porcupine is a well-known New World rodent. They are good swimmers with the hollow quills helping to keep it afloat. Porcupines breed only once a year with males competing for pre-estrous females. 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. It lives in hilly, rocky habitats in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and Italy. Other new world porcupines include the Brazilian porcupine (Coendou prehensilis), and the Mexican hairy dwarf porcupine (Coendou mexicanus). All porcupines have a few traits in common. The North American porcupine is a slow moving, stoutly-built animal. Its head is relatively small, its legs are stocky, and it has strong, curved claws on all four feet. These include the coyote, red fox, black bear, bobcat, mink, marten, long-tailed weasel, ermine, and great horned owl. Read on for more North American porcupine facts…. Fun Facts. This slow-moving porcupine is the second North American rodent in size only to beaver. Porcupines are also common from Wisconsin to New York and New England. During the summer, they eat twigs, roots, stems, berries, and other vegetation. The North American porcupine is a member of the family Erethizontidae, a diverse group of rodents otherwise known as “New World porcupines”. 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