Species: Erethizon dorsatus, with seven subspecies
The Old World Porcupine live in southern Europe, Asia (western as well as southern), and most of Africa. They are large, terrestrial, and strictly nocturnal. In taxonomic terms, they form the family Hystricidae.Porcupines are rodentian mammals with a coat of sharp spines, or quills, that protect against predators. The term covers two families of animals, the Old World Porcupine of family Hystricidae, and the New World Porcupine of family Erethizontidae. As mentioned, both families belong to the clade 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 Hystricognathi.
The New World Porcupine are indigenous to North America and northern South America. They live in wooded areas and can climb trees, where some species spend their entire lives. They are less strictly nocturnal than their Old World relatives, and generally smaller. In taxonomic terms, they form the family Erethizontidae.
Porcupines are the third-largest of the rodents, behind the capybara and the beaver. Most porcupines are about 25–36 in (64–91 cm) long, with an 8–10 in (20–25 cm) long tail. Weighing 12–35 lb (5.4–15.9 kg), they are rounded, large, and slow. Porcupines occur in various shades of brown, gray, and white. Porcupines’ spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated erinaceomorph hedgehogs and Australian spiny anteaters or monotreme echidnas.
|Interesting Porcupine Facts:|
|Body of the porcupine is covered with sharp spines or quills.|
|Some porcupines have up to 30,000 quills on their body.|
|Porcupines can’t shoot out their quills, but they will be easily released when predators get it touch with animal.|
|Lost quills are replaced with new quills.|
|Porcupines are nocturnal animals. This means that they sleep during the day and become active in the evening.|
|They use their strong feet and curved claws to climb the tree. They are excellent climbers.|
|Porcupine’s home is called a den.|
|They are herbivorous animals (eat only plants). They like to eat leaves, stem, bark, fruit…|
|They can live solitary life (left on their own) or in the small groups of up to 6 members.|
|During mating season, female initiates close contact with male.|
|Couple usually gets 2 babies and both parents take care of their babies.|
|Babies are called porcupettes and they are born with soft quills. Soft quills will harden in the next few hours.|
|Young porcupine will leave its parents after couple of months and begin solitary life.|
|Native Americans used porcupine’s quills to decorate themselves in the past. They also used porcupines as a source of food.|
|Porcupines can live 15-18 years.|