North American Porcupine

Erethizon dorsatum

There’s a catch …

Many an assailant that comes too close to a North American porcupine will say this. Its long quills are provided with many tiny little barbs on the tip – also on the tail. If it strikes with this, the barbs bore into the assailant’s flesh. A painful experience …


  • Origin

    North America: Canada, northern and western USA to Mexico

  • Habitat


  • Diet

    Leaves, shoots, berries, bark

  • Status

    least concern

  • Size

    up to one meter long (including 14-30 cm tail)

  • Weight

    up to 9 kg

  • Gestation period

    About 210 days

  • Achievable age

    up to 14 years

Threat Categories of IUCN

Did you know that?

Adult animals have up to 30,000 quills.
Offspring are born with soft quills which become hard within one hour.

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Today, 26. February
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