3 Interesting Facts About Porcupines

The North American Porcupine

The North American Porcupine

Porcupines are rodents and are actually the third largest animal among rodents, outsized only by the capybara and the beaver.  Porcupines are found across the United States, Europe, Africa and South and Central America. Porcupines are slow moving herbivores that will eat almost any plant and when pressured by hunger will even eat bark from trees.  Its destructive eating habits and its propensity to make messes when building its den make the porcupine an unwanted pest around most homeowners’ properties.

3 Interesting Facts About Porcupines

1. Wow! That’s a Fancy Name!  

The name porcupine comes from the French phrase porc espin which means spined pig.  The “pig” theme in the porcupine name is also found in one of its common monikers; “quill pig”.  Porcupines may also be called hedgehogs or quillers.

2. That is a Crazy Way to Say I Love You

Though the porcupine is generally a solitary animal, as the mating season approaches interaction between males while fighting over females and between male and female porcupines increases. The porcupine’s mating season generally begins in mid-summer during the months of July and August.  Their mating rituals encompass several bizarre behaviors including the male and female slapping or “boxing” each other with their front paws and the male porcupine soaking the female with a high pressure stream of urine.

3. Porcupines and Monkeys Have Something in Common

Just like monkeys, porcupines are divided into each an Old World and a New World variety.  The porcupines of the Old World variety have quills that are grouped in clusters while the New World variety have single quills growing over nearly their entire body.  New World porcupines are generally smaller ( the North American Porcupine being the exception), tend to be better climbers and spend more time in trees than do the Old World porcupines.

Bonus Fact

4. Getting Rid of Porcupines from Your Yard can be Easy!

porcupineThough porcupines are generally well protected by their sharp quills they still remain very sensitive to the threat of their natural predators.  Porcupines are slow moving animals and having a head start on a lurking fox can mean the difference between getting back to the den safely and a life or death struggle with a hungry predator.  One of the tools a porcupine uses to stay one step ahead of danger is its nose.  When a porcupine gets a whiff of a nearby predator it turns tail and heads the other direction.  Using an all natural porcupine repellent like Shake-Away puts the power of the porcupine’s natural fear to work for you. Shake-Away’s 100% natural granules are infused with the scent of real fox urine.  When used according to the directions the granules trick the porcupine into thinking your property has been claimed by the fox and is no longer a safe place to be.

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