Both types of porcupines are typically solitary, though New World porcupines may pair up. You will receive a verification email shortly. "Porcupines, Porcupine Pictures, Porcupine Facts", "North American porcupine – Erethizon dorsatum (Linnaeus, 1758)", "Porcupines raise thorny questions in Kenya", "Wild Southeast Asian porcupines under threat due to illegal hunting, researchers find", "Wildlife Extra News – Illegal hunting threatens Vietnam's wild porcupines", "Microstructured barbs on the North American porcupine quill enable easy tissue penetration and difficult removal", "Variance of molecular datings, evolution of rodents, and the phylogenetic affinities between Ctenodactylidae and Hystricognathi", "Multiple molecular evidences for a living mammalian fossil", "Rodent phylogeny revised: analysis of six nuclear genes from all major rodent clades", "Impacts of the Cretaceous terrestrial revolution and KPg extinction on mammal diversification", "A glimpse on the pattern of rodent diversification: a phylogenetic approach", The Complete Resource To Keeping Porcupines As Pets, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Porcupine&oldid=995549612, Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from September 2010, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 21 December 2020, at 17:31. Weighing 5–16 kg (12–35 lb), they are rounded, large, and slow, and use aposematic strategy of defence. Porcupines aren't really social. They are covered in quills that they use as a defense mechanism — when they shake them, the quills make a … A mother and her young is considered a family group called a prickle. Adults have up to 39,000 quills. The courtship ritual includes a variety of strange vocalizations from both the male and female as well as a great deal of nose rubbing. © Porcupines are primarily nocturnal animals who rest during the day in hollow trees and logs, underground burrows or in crevices found in rocky areas. If you provide these, the animals are attracted. [10], Defensive behaviour displays in a porcupine depend on sight, scent and sound. Porcupines give birth to one live offspring per year after a seven-month gestation time, so they don’t reproduce with the rapidity of a lot of other rodents. Porcupines are mostly nocturnal, spending their evenings foraging for dinner. Otherwise, the porcupine may retreat into its burrow, exposing only its quills and making it hard to dislodge. Porcupines do not normally quill intruders without advanced notice. They live in forests and deserts, rocky outcrops, and hillsides. They are herbivores and eat leaves, twigs and woody plants. Like beavers, they have large teeth and share an insatiable appetite for tree bark. Porcupine Habitat and Behavior: Porcupines are nocturnal and make their homes in rocky areas for daytime slumber. In the spring they feed on leaves, twigs and green plants. New World porcupines have small quills that are around 4 inches (10 cm) long, while Old World porcupines have quills that can grow up to 20 inches (51 cm) long, though there are some exceptions. In case you haven’t picked it up yet, porcupines are fantastic … In the winter, it may eat bark. If you’re looking for one in the winter, you won’t find a hedgehog. The general coat coloration for North American porcupines is black or deep brown. Porcupines are large, slow-moving rodents with sharp quills on their backs. Both types of porcupines are typically solitary, though New World porcupines may pair up. Like beavers, they have large teeth and share an insatiable appetite for tree bark. [12] The antibiotic properties are believed to aid a porcupine that has suffered from self-injury. Thus, threatened porcupines turn away predators, using a chemical odor, which they … Species listed as vulnerable include the Phillipine porcupine and the bristle-spined porcupine. Porcupines vary in size considerably: Rothschild's porcupine of South America weighs less than a kilogram (2.2 lb); the crested porcupine found in Italy, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa can grow to well over 27 kg (60 lb). The porcupine has thousands of quills on its back to provide protection from predators. Porcupines are normally nocturnal creatures. Porcupines (Nocturnal Animals): Amazon.co.uk: Dunn, Mary R.: Books Select Your Cookie Preferences We use cookies and similar tools to enhance your shopping experience, to provide our services, understand how customers use our services so we can make improvements, and display ads. (1.2 to 35 kilograms), depending on species, and their tails can grow up to 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm), according to the San Diego Zoo. New World porcupines make up the Erethizontidae family, which comprises four genera and 12 species. Foraging habits greatly differ among porcupines, depending on group and location. South African Porcupines are described as either solitary creatures or living in small family groups. Article Continued Below. Porcupines are common throughout the state. In winter, they chew through the outer bark of fir, hemlock, aspen and pines trees to eat the tender layer of … A porcupine is any of 58 species of rodents belonging to the families Erethizontidae (genera: Coendou, Erethizon, and Chaetomys) or Hystricidae (genera: Atherurus, Hystrix, and Trichys). They communicate with conspecifics through a system of acoustic, chemical, visual and tactile signals. Quills are released by contact or may drop out when the porcupine shakes its body. Porcupettes are about 3 percent of mother's weight at birth, according to the San Diego Zoo. South African porcupines are primarily nocturnal, although they may be seen during the day. They live in wooded areas and can climb trees, where some species spend their entire lives. [15][16] Porcupines were long believed to have the ability to project their quills to a considerable distance at an enemy, but this has since been proven to be untrue.[17][18]. Porcupines are seldom eaten in Western culture, but are very popular in Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, where the prominent use of them as a food source has contributed to significant declines in their populations. 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. North American porcupines are some of the biggest rodents that come from North America, beaten out in size solely by beavers, according to the Woodland Park Zoo. Porcupines are nocturnal. The… They have as many as 30,000 quills on the back, tail and sides and use them as a defense against predators. Porcupines' quills, or spines, take on various forms, depending on the species, but all are modified hairs coated with thick plates of keratin,[15] and embedded in the skin musculature. Due to being hollow, quills of this animal were used to keep gold dust. 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 porcupine… Porcupines vary in size considerably: Rothschild's porcupine of South America weighs less than a kilogram (2.2 lb); the crested porcupine found in Italy, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa can grow to well over 27 kg (60 lb). Both families belong to the infraorder Hystricognathi within the profoundly diverse order Rodentia and display superficially similar coats of quills: despite this, the two groups are distinct from each other and are not closely related to each other within the Hystricognathi. In taxonomic terms, they form the family Hystricidae. Porcupines are nocturnal. Porcupines occupy a variety of habitat types. Porcupines are nearsighted and slow-moving. Thank you for signing up to Live Science. Porcupines have become a pest in Kenya and are eaten as a delicacy. If you were ever looking for an unusual piece of trivia, the porcupine … But because they travel over the same trails repeatedly, finding a perfect, un-trampled track is a rare event. Porcupines are also known to eat bugs and small lizards every now and then. Often, these displays are shown when a porcupine becomes agitated or annoyed. It is mostly nocturnal, but will sometimes forage for food in the day. A. Porcupines like salt, tender trees, fruits and vegetables. There are many species of porcupine, and they divide into two groups: The Old World porcupines live in southern Europe, western and southern Asia, and most of Africa. [23] The quills have inspired research for such applications as the design of hypodermic needles and surgical staples. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, They have as many as 30,000 quills on the back, tail and sides and use them as a defense against predators. Thus, African porcupines usually forage on the ground, whereas those, native to North America, forage in trees. They spend a lot of time in the tops of trees. Newly discovered fungi turn flies into zombies and devour them from the inside out, Angel, devil and blood-red heart appear at Martian south pole, Unsafe levels of radiation found in Chernobyl crops, Scientists think they've detected radio emissions from an alien world, 1,200-year-old pagan temple to Thor and Odin unearthed in Norway. During the wintertime, porcupines eat a lot of tree bark, as well. Porcupines are nearsighted and slow-moving. They are large, terrestrial, and strictly nocturnal. Porcupines use the quills as a defense. There's nothing else like it. But, they can occasionally be seen out during the day as well. They are found on every continent except Antarctica. There are 11 species within the old world porcupine family; they tend to be nocturnal and larger than the new world family with a couple of exceptions. Really! They have a small head and their body is covered with sharp quills (thick needle-like hairs). Porcupines are nocturnal, which means they are active during the night and sleep during the day. Both mature individuals and weaned young spend about 7 hours foraging per night on average. In taxonomic terms, they form the family Hystricidae. Sometimes the porcupine releases its spikes by shaking which causes the loose ones to fall off. Please refresh the page and try again. A Porcupine’s Scientific Name is Erethizon Dorsatum and Hystricidae. [8] It is mostly nocturnal,[9] but will sometimes forage for food in the day, eating bark, roots, fruits and berries, as well as farm crops. There are currently no species listed as endangered, though some species don't have enough data to come to decision on its status. Their many adaptations make it easier for them to survive, as most predators are nocturnal and colorblind: therefore, the porcupines’ muted coloring helps them even more than their spines. This, along with the raising of the sharp quills, deters predators. Once a quill is lost, it isn't lost forever. If you were ever looking for an unusual piece of trivia, the porcupine … During the winter porcupines damage trees by chewing through the bark to eat the inner bark. They freeze when approached by predators and sometimes show aggressive behavior such as running backwards or sideways towards the attacker to implant their spikes. Some quills can get up to a foot (30 centimeters) long, like those on the Africa's crested porcupine, according to National Geographic. Porcupines are vocal and will grunt when attacked to scare off predators. They make a wide variety of sounds from whimpers to screams. [22], The presence of barbs, acting like anchors, makes it more painful to remove a quill that has pierced the skin. [4], Fossils belonging to the genus Hystrix date back to the late Miocene of the continent of Africa.[5]. The African civet enjoys a wide distribution throughout sub-Saharan Africa. A porcupine’s hair is soft, but it’s back is covered by a thick layer of needle-like quills. The term covers two families of animals: the Old World porcupines of family Hystricidae, and the New World porcupines of family Erethizontidae. By They include the large crested porcupines, some of which can grow more than 2 … The Old World porcupines live in southern Europe, Asia (western and southern), and most of Africa. Porcupettes mature at 9 months to 2.5 years, depending on species and can live up to 15 years in the wild. Life Cycle Porcupines mate in late summer and early fall. Porcupines are normally nocturnal creatures. The body of porcupine produces keratin - a material, from which its quills are made. It eats leaves, twigs and green plants like skunk cabbage and clover. The New World porcupines evolved their spines independently (through convergent evolution) and are more closely related to several other families of rodents than they are to the Old World porcupines. Porcupines are distributed into two evolutionarily independent groups within the suborder Hystricomorpha of the Rodentia. If contact is made, the quills could be impaled into the predator causing injury or death.[14]. They prefer softwood trees. Porcupines walking around in daytime usually have some business to attend to, be it migration or mating. They will also eat bugs once in a great while. North American porcupines are the only porcupine species that lives in the United States and Canada, and they are also the second largest rodent in North America, the largest being the beaver. Despite its … An invasive scent is produced from the skin above the tail in times of stress, and is often seen with quill erection. Porcupines are nocturnal rodents. Porcupine are large rodents with coats of sharp and pointy spines, or quills, that protect them against predators. A mother and her young is considered a family group called a prickle. The quills are loosely attached but cannot be thrown or projected, according to the Animal Diversity Web. They make shake them, which makes them rattle, as a warning to potential predators. Where porcupines are present it’s easy to find these runs in snow. Porcupines are strict vegetarians. The… Despite their poor sight, porcupines have a highly developed sense of smell and hearing. Click here for the lowest price! Stay up to date on the coronavirus outbreak by signing up to our newsletter today. They prefer softwood trees. They are large, terrestrial, and strictly nocturnal. The New World porcupines are indigenous to North America and northern South America. Porcupines are nocturnal rodents. If cornered, it turns vicious and charges to stab it's attacker with its quills. Adults have up to 39,000 quills. New World porcupines spend their time in the trees, while Old World porcupines stay on the ground. Parker, SB (1990) Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals, vol. They have a small head and their body is covered with sharp quills (thick needle-like hairs). Since they are nocturnal, most foraging and activity is done during the night hours. Behavior. Porcupines' spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated erinaceomorph hedgehogs and Australian monotreme echidnas as well as tenrecid tenrecs. Seeing a porcupine during the day is odd and sometimes means they are sick or have run out of their den for some reason. However, between September and December, it seeks out other porcupines for mating. During the winter, they tend to avoid moonlight in order to escape predators. Despite their poor sight, porcupines have a highly developed sense of smell and hearing. Porcupine vision is poor, but they have an excellent sense of smell. Porcupines can live a long time. For other uses, see, Rodent with a coat of sharp and pointy spines, Old World compared with New World species. They are less strictly nocturnal than their Old World relatives, and generally smaller. Porcupines are nocturnal, which means they are active during the night and sleep during the day. 4, McGraw-Hill, New York. In general, porcupines live in just about any terrain, including deserts, grasslands, mountains, rainforests and forests. Porcupines are listed as least concern or as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), depending on the species. They are most commonly found in coniferous or evergreen forests but have also been found in deciduous woodlands and among Creosote in … It grows up to 15 inches (38 cm) long. Porcupine translates as "spiny pig," from the Latin porcus, meaning "hog," and spina, meaning "thorn" or "spine." It often climbs trees to find food. Nevertheless, these solitary, nocturnal critters are well equipped to defend themselves. They are herbivores and eat leaves, twigs and woody plants. [citation needed] Behavior. [13] If the above processes fail, the porcupine will attack by running sideways or backwards into predators. The typical porcupine diet consists mostly of plant matter -- think tubers, buds, fruit, bark, carrots, potatoes and cassava. Having poor vision, porcupines rely primarily on their good sense of hearing and of smell, sometimes standing up on their hind legs to sniff the air. Baby porcupines … North American porcupines are some of the biggest rodents that come from North America, beaten out in size solely by beavers, according to the Woodland Park Zoo. 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. These porcupines tend to have quite stocky and heavy builds. They are found in southern Europe, South East Asia, throughout India and Africa. During the night, they forage for food. Most porcupines are about 60–90 cm (25–36 in) long, with a 20–25 cm (8–10 in) long tail. That does not mean that you cannot spot a porcupine in the daytime. Rival males may fight one another to determine who will mate with a female. They freeze when approached by predators and sometimes show aggressive behavior such as running backwards or sideways towards the attacker to implant their spikes. [11] These displays are ranked from least aggressive to most aggressive respectively. Porcupines are primarily nocturnal. A porcupine is any of 58 species of rodents belonging to the families Erethizontidae (genera: Coendou, Erethizon, and Chaetomys) or Hystricidae (genera: Atherurus, Hystrix, and Trichys). You can find porcupines year-round, but they do stay inside their den during lousy weather. Like beavers, they have large teeth and share an insatiable appetite for tree bark. The Old World porcupines live in southern Europe, Asia (western[1] and southern), and most of Africa. Porcupines are mostly nocturnal, spending their evenings foraging for dinner. The two families of porcupines are quite different, and although both belong to the Hystricognathi branch of the vast order Rodentia, they are not closely related. All porcupines are nocturnal and quite adaptable, found in a variety of habitats, as long as there is vegetation. Porcupines occupy a small range of habitats in tropical and temperate parts of Asia, Southern Europe, Africa, and North and South America. This large nocturnal rodent has also developed a unique … The porcupine is primarily nocturnal and may rest by day in hollow trees and logs, crevices in rocky bluffs or underground burrows. Porcupines. There are some possible antibiotic properties within the quills, specifically associated with the free fatty acids coating the quills. The porcupine is a solitary for most of the year. Although the porcupine is usually regarded as arboreal and found in woodlands, individuals wander widely and have been observed among Creosote in all of the North American deserts. [11] The rattling of quills is aided by the hollow quills at the back end of the porcupine. Unlike … Porcupines will communicate when they are feeling threatened by vocalizing, displaying their quills and clattering their teeth. They are herbivores and eat leaves, twigs and woody plants. All porcupines have a few traits in common. Paperback, 9781429661935, 1429661933 When not seeking cover from the weather or fishers, the porcupine spends most of its time in the trees feeding and resting. Porcupines. Porcupines are primarily nocturnal. The New World porcupines are indigenous to North America and northern South America. For example, their guardhairs are used in the creation of the Native American "porky roach" headdress. [2][3] A regional American name for the animal is "quill-pig". Where porcupines are present it’s easy to find these runs in snow. But because they travel over the same trails repeatedly, finding a perfect, un-trampled track is a rare event. Resembles that of the quills, that protect them against predators have spikes in... An excellent sense of smell and hearing and green plants and activity done! Throughout are porcupines nocturnal state ] the shape of the predators are nocturnal and adaptable... 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Diego Zoo deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer of porcupines are nocturnal. And use them as a warning to potential predators the same trails repeatedly, finding perfect... For the animal Diversity Web ( 1990 ) Grzimek 's Encyclopedia of Mammals, vol September and December, is. To aid a porcupine during the day.They like to dig for example, their guardhairs are used the! Be seen in a few days third largest living rodent in the daytime both for the. Its … porcupines are indigenous to North America and northern South America [ 15 ] the use of odor when! Regions where rocks are not abundant you won ’ t find a.!