We have a small an a large porcupine skull this size difference is likely sexual dimorphism. Scientific Classification Kingdom Animalia Phylum Chordata Class Mammalia Order Rodentia Family Erethizontidae Subfamily Erethizontinae Genus Erethizon Scientific … They have ever-growing teeth that are worn down by chewing on wood. North American Porcupines live up to 18 years. Lifespan. The family currently consists of around 18 species. 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. The North American porcupine is one of the few New World porcupines found in North America, and the only one found north of Mexico. They are found throughout Canada and the western United States south to Mexico. In the wild, a porcupine's average lifespan is 5-7 years. Are New World Porcupines Related To Old World Porcupines? (Kurta, 1995; Roze, 1989) The front half of the body exhibits long, yellowish guard hairs. Mating itself takes place on the ground. Porcupines are also common from Wisconsin to New York and New England. Follow the link below to find out more and to sign up! 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. Porcupines use the quills as a defense. The average life expectancy of a wild porcupine is 5 to 6 years, while their captive counterparts have been known to live up to 10 years. The North American porcupine’s coat consists of three distinct layers; an inner, woolly layer is closest to the skin, followed by a layer of longer guard hairs. 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. Baby porcupines have soft quills that begin hardening about an hour after birth. The outermost layer comprises around 30,000 sharp quills. Its skull is heavily constructed; the small, rounded head h… North American porcupine Synonyms Erethizon dorsatum Lifespan, ageing, and relevant traits Maximum longevity 23.4 years (captivity) Source ref. The most obvious trait is the long, sharp quills that cover their bodies. The 300,000 quills that cover a North American porcupine's body are its best defense—but not the way you may think! Some predators are known to have died from wounds caused by a porcupine’s quills. They damage trees in plantations and in people’s gardens, and often gnaw on garden sheds, wooden porches, gardening tools, and even old boots. North American Porcupines live up to 18 years. All of our animal products are sourced from other industries. The species favors the new growth at the very tips of the branches; one of the reasons why it sometimes ends up falling out of the trees. Scientific Name: Erethizon dorsatum. Sex: Male This is highly painful and potentially dangerous for the predator; the embedded quills can work themselves further into the flesh and become infected. Newborns weigh between 14 and 18 oz. The Pocupines Life Cycle. The North American porcupine is a solitary animal, although it may den with other porcupines in the winter. Predators: Many animals occasionally kill porcupines, especially young ones. The quills cover the porcupine’s body and tail. 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. Female porcupines reach sexual maturity at around 2 years and males at 2.5 years. Porcupines over 12 years show diminished feeding and are usually smaller in size. North American Porcupine Life Cycle. It weighs from 10 to 40 pounds. Porcupines have strong, short legs and their feet have hairless soles to help it climb trees. Its head is relatively small, its legs are stocky, and it has strong, curved claws on all four feet. This slow-moving porcupine is the second North American rodent in size only to beaver. Porcupines start in their moms stomach, just like us. POSSIBLE CONFLICTS & SOLUTIONS Porcupines have a benevolent disposition and, unless provoked to defend themselves, they cause no real harm. Porcupine quills may be as dense as 150 quills per square inch (6.4 square centimeters). Porcupine longevity is probably limited by the life of their grinding teeth. (If seen at all during the day, the North American porcupine is often only visible as a dark ball high up in the branches). 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. Other new world porcupines include the Brazilian porcupine (Coendou prehensilis), and the Mexican hairy dwarf porcupine (Coendou mexicanus). North American porcupines are sexually dimorphic, with males being larger than females. Fantastic Fact Despite the sharp, spiny quills of a North American porcupine, they are still preyed upon by mountain lions, cougars, foxes and fishers. Porcupines have an average lifespan of 6 to 18 years. Wildlife officials say porcupines are extending their range south into more counties in West Virginia. A receptive female advertises her availability by secreting a special scent. Porcupines use a broad variety of habitats. Porcupines over 12 years show diminished feeding and are usually smaller in size. The earliest North American porcupine fossil was found at a site in central Mexico, and dates to 2.5 million years ago. SIZE: North American porcupines reach 40 pounds as adults, with some variation. The North American Porcupine is best known for and made distinguishable by its spiny quills that cover its body. A common myth is that porcupines can "shoot" their quills at a predator; but they can't. All porcupines have a few traits in common. During the winter they primarily eat evergreen needles and tree bark. North American Porcupine. Class:   Mammalia About. Porcupines are relatively long-lived animals that can live up to 18 years in the wild. Porcupine longevity is probably limited by the life of their grinding teeth. Quills extend from head to tail on the dorsal surface. In fact, North American porcupines regularly fall out of the trees, and this can lead to death. With an extensive range, they can be found in varied climates, and at varied elevations. You can find out more about rodents on this page. It has black to brownish-yellow fur and strong, short legs. The quills, which are actually modified hairs, serve as a defense against predators. A receptive female advertises her availability by secreting a special scent. Join the thousands of Active Wild subscribers who receive free wildlife and science news & info direct to their inboxes! Its head and body are 25 to 40 inches long, with a long, thick, muscular tail growing as long as 8 inches. They weigh 9 to 15 pounds, with bigger, older adults weighing up to 20 pounds. Flying Squirrels Facts: Meet The Gliding Rodents Of North America! Weight:  11-20 lbs (5-14 kg) with females being smaller Common Name: North American porcupine. It has a small head, a large, chunky body with a high arching back and short legs. The North American porcupine is the second largest rodent in North America, outsized only by beavers. As another defensive adaptation, the North American porcupine produces a foul-smelling chemical, which may be enough to deter some predators. Most New World Porcupines are found in South America. They are hollow and provide insulation against the cold. Even with their formidable spiny defence the North American porcupine is preyed upon successfully by several predators including mountain lions and fishers. Porcupines breed only once a … Males respond and will join her in the tree where she is perched. 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 North American Porcupine is a large rodent, the only rodent on the North American continent that is larger is the beaver. The North American Porcupine is a well-known New World rodent. A family of porcupines is called a prickle—really! It is distinguished by its stout, slow, lumbering form and by its spiny coat. North American porcupines have over 30,000 modified hairs called quills covering their bodies. In the spring/summer porcupines eat berries, seeds, grasses, leaves, roots, and stems. If threatened it will turn its back to the predator and raise its quills. They are good swimmers with the hollow quills helping to keep it afloat. All New World porcupines are arboreal and have significant adaptations that help them to move around in the trees; these include prehensile tails for gripping branches, and a fleshy pad on each hind foot used to grip. Read on for more North American porcupine facts…. If they are unable to wear down their teeth, they will continue to grow inward and eventually result in the animal’s starvation. 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. Rodents make up about 40% of all the mammal species on Earth. Adult porcupines are about 30 inches in length, including a 6- to 10-inch tail. 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. Like all porcupines, the North American porcupine has a coat of sharp quills. The North American Porcupine is the second largest of all rodents. 671 Sample size Medium Data quality Acceptable Observations. These include the coyote, red fox, black bear, bobcat, mink, marten, long-tailed weasel, ermine, and great horned owl. The porcupine is the second largest rodent in North America, second only to the beaver. Another defensive option for the porcupine is to simply escape to the safety of a tree. In the spring/summer porcupines eat berries, seeds, grasses, leaves, roots, and stems. The North American porcupine is mostly arboreal (tree-dwelling), spending much of its life foraging for food in the trees. The porcupine is North America’s second largest rodent; only the beaver is bigger. The quills are barbed and easily detached, meaning that the would-be predator can quite easily find itself with either a face-full or paw-full of quills. Birthday: August 1, 2013 News and facts about animals, natural history and science. In addition, they are hunted in some places, and chased away in others. 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. Click on the photo below to discover this week’s animal! A porcupine … Meet Our Porcupine. North American porcupines are one of the largest rodents native to North America. The New World porcupines first appeared on the fossil record about 30 million years ago. The North American porcupine’s most distinctive feature is its spiny coat, which consists of around 30,000 sharp quills. The gestation period is about seven months, after which a single infant, known as a porcupette, is born in the female’s den. Porcupines live to about 10 to 15 years, then they die. It is an herbivorous animal with pines, or quills, as they are called, all across their body, except the face, underbelly and limbs. Although the species does not hibernate, it will stay inside a den during cold or unfavorable weather. A greasy coating on porcupine quills contains antibiotics, possibly to protect the animal from infection if it is accidentally pricked by its own quills. Males respond and will join her in the tree where she is perched. Each subspecies occurs in a different locality, and shows minor differences in size, weight and coloration. Porcupines are relatively long-lived animals that can live up to 18 years in the wild. Copyright © 2020 ActiveWild.com. The North American porcupine is the second-largest rodent found in North America (the largest is the North American beaver). The African crested porcupine is the largest porcupine in the world. Here's the truth: the quills are made of keratin like your hair and fingernails. On the whole, porcupines appear dark brown to black, with dorsal guard hairs and quills that contain bands of yellow. Buford was considered too imprinted to be released so Idaho Fish and Game collected the animal and found placement for him at Zoo Idaho. Kingdom:  Animalia The North American porcupine is a member of the family Erethizontidae, a diverse group of rodents otherwise known as “New World porcupines”. 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 porcupin… Porcupines may be active in the day but are mostly nocturnal. The hollow quills allow porcupines to stay afloat in water. The North American porcupine uses its quills as defense against predators. 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. In the winter, they mainly eat conifer needles and tree bark. (It’s completely free, you can unsubscribe at any time, and we’ll never share your details.). The porcupine inhabits a diverse range of habitats, including deciduous forests, coniferous forests, woodlands, scrublands, grasslands, and even tundra. A characteristic of rodents is that their incisor teeth never stop growing, meaning that they can gnaw on tough plant material their whole lives with no fear that their teeth will eventually wear down. Adult porcupines wei… In winter, the porcupine mostly eats bark and the needles of coniferous trees. 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. Tall:  6-12 in (15-30 cm). Individuals range in length from 24 to 36 inches, and weigh between 10 and 30 lbs. The most recognizable feature of the porcupine is its quills. LIFE SPAN: 5 - 7 years. The fisher is the only habitual predator of the porcupine, and may suppress populations of this rodent. The North American porcupine is a slow moving, stoutly-built animal. The North American porcupine is found from northern Mexico to Alaska. ActiveWild.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon stores. The conservation status of the North American porcupine is Least Concern. (Kurta, 1995; Roze, 1989) Range lifespan Status: wild 18 (high) years; Average lifespan Males are larger than females. 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. Fun Facts. Category: Porcupine. The porcupine doesn’t hibernate, but it may stay in its den during bad weather. Though porcupines spend most of their time on the ground, they are good climbers and swimmers. It will either return to a den on the ground during the daytime or remain in the tree to rest. 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. Mothers have one or two babies. Porcupines live in open tundra, deciduous forests, and desert chaparral. Reproduction. A single animal may have 30,000 or more quills. In Maryland, for example, the species is considered to be in need of conservation, while in Mexico it is listed as an endangered species. The animal has short legs and heavy built. Phylum:  Chordata Buford came to Zoo Idaho from Idaho Fish and Game after he was found in Pocatello. north american porcupine. 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. 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… Its quills are soft at birth, but harden within a few days. Porcupines have four incisors—two above and two below that are bright orange, strong and adapted to gnawing. 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. Breeding occurs in October and November. 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. This slow-moving mammal spends much of its life in the trees, and is mainly active at night. The larges would be male ane the smalls would be female. All Rights Reserved. The North American porcupine is a rodent with black to brownish-yellow fur and quills all over its round body, except for its stomach. 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. Quills are hairs with solid, barbed tips and hollow shafts, and a porcupine has an estimated 30,000. The potential life span is 10 years. It is also an excellent tree-climber and spends much of its time in trees. If that doesn't work, they may charge backwards into the predator. It is a very vocal animal and has a wide-variety of calls including moans, grunts, coughs, wails, whines, shrieks and tooth clicking. Currently, seven different subspecies of the North American porcupine are recognized. North American Porcupine Facts At A Glance, What Does A North American Porcupine Look Like. They make shake them, which makes them rattle, as a warning to potential predators. Predators can get through the porcupine’s defenses by flipping the rodent onto its back, thereby exposing its soft belly, which is not protected with quills. In the eastern United States, the species is present in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Maryland. Length:  2–3 ft (60-90 cm) It is North America’s second-heaviest rodent, weighing only slightly less on average than the North American beaver. These animals appear to have a remarkably long life span in the wild, living up to 18 years . Porcupines are generalists, eating a wide range of plant material depending upon season. North American Porcupines have a typical lifespan of 10-15 years in the wild and up to 15-30 years in captivity. The North American porcupine is the second largest rodent species found in North America. 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. Order:  Rodentia This is an adaptation to warn other animals that the porcupine is well protected and won’t be an easy meal! The North American porcupine can live for 23 years, while South America's prehensile-tailed porcupine can go four years longer. 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 North American porcupine is a rodent. Genus:  Erethizon In addition, predatory birds such as eagles and owls prey on porcupines. Rodent Facts: The Ultimate Guide To The Order Rodentia, A to Z Animals List With Pictures, Facts & Information for Kids & Students, North American Bird ID Quiz App For Android: Available Now From The Play Store, American Crocodile Facts, Pictures & In-Depth Information, Axolotl Facts For Kids: Information, Pictures & Video, Animals That Start With W: List With Pictures & Facts, Bobcat Facts, Pictures, Video & Information. During the summer, they eat twigs, roots, stems, berries, and other vegetation. Gestation is 210 days, after which a female gives birth to a single offspring. Click the picture above for more details & to view free sample pages! Porcupines leave at around 12 months of age and they start mating at around 18 months of age. The porcupine lives mostly in forests, deserts, and grasslands in the northern part of North America, with a lifespan of about 30 years. It makes its den in caves, decaying logs and hollow trees. Pocupines hive a live birth. It eats tender twigs, shoots, buds, bark, seeds and berries from a variety of trees. Species:  Erethizon dorsatum. The North American porcupine is nocturnal, foraging in the trees during the darkness of night. Family: Erethizontidae. In addition, the range of this species is the northernmost of all porcupines. LIFE SPAN: 15 years under human managed care. Males are larger than females. Dens are made in hollow logs, caves, tree stumps, or disused burrows. It has hairless soles on its feet that help it climb trees. It is cared for by its mother, who soon teaches it to climb trees and to forage on its own. This species of porcupines are endangered because due to hunting and also because of loss of habitat. The second-largest rodent in North America, this porcupine species grows to be around 20 pounds and 2-3 feet in length. Porcupines are relatively long lived and can live up to about 18 years in the wild. However, there are regions in which the species’ population has declined. Here they compete for dominance. North American porcupine predators include fishers (carnivores in the weasel family), coyotes, wolves, bobcats and cougars. The North American porcupine has over 30,000 quills! Active Wild Pinterest Active Wild Facebook. During the winter they primarily eat evergreen needles and tree bark. Even though they are docile and gentle creatures, they can only suffer population declines as humans continue to encroach into their habitats. RANGE: Porcupines are found across most of the forested areas in Alaska, with the exception of Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska, and the neighboring islands to the west. Lifespan/Longevity. The North American porcupine is strictly herbivorous and depends on trees for its food. North American Porcupine Range and Habitat. It lives in hilly, rocky habitats in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and Italy. The animal is mostly nocturnal and is an herbivore, meaning it eats only vegetation. The North American porcupine is the only species that lives in the U.S. and Canada, and is the largest of all porcupines. It has a round body, small ears and a small head. The white patches in the quills can be easily seen at night. Being a rodent, the North American porcupine has large incisor teeth, with which it gnaws its food. By October, when the female mates again, the young are fully weaned and wander off to face the winter alone. The species is widespread throughout Canada and the western United States. Porcupines breed only once a year with males competing for pre-estrous females. The North American porcupine can do substantial damage to trees by eating their bark, a behavior that can bring the species into conflict with humans. Their fur ranges in color from brownish-yellow to black, and they sport white highlights in their quills. Family:  Erethizontidae Short-legged and stout, a porcupine has a pronounced arch to its back. Ranges in color from brownish-yellow to black, and this can lead to death, weighing slightly... Erethizontidae Subfamily Erethizontinae Genus Erethizon scientific … the Pocupines life Cycle is well protected and won ’ t be easy. Strictly herbivorous and depends on trees for its stomach ’ population has declined winter they primarily eat needles. Size difference is likely sexual dimorphism grasses, leaves, roots, dates. Is Least Concern Africa and Italy and cougars to discover this week ’ s most distinctive feature its. And to forage on its own older adults weighing up to 18 years in the spring/summer porcupines eat berries seeds... Present in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Maryland it. Though they are good climbers and swimmers though porcupines spend most of grinding! Of trees, grasses, leaves, roots, and is mainly active at night porcupine grows. South America some places, and is mainly active at night 1995 ; Roze, 1989 ) North. Are hairs with solid, barbed tips and hollow trees female porcupines reach sexual maturity at around 18 of... Predator and raise its quills inch ( 6.4 square centimeters ) details. ) sample pages SPAN in spring/summer! ; but they ca n't around 12 months of age sexual dimorphism from 24 to 36 inches, and mainly... Though they are good climbers and swimmers animals that the porcupine is nocturnal, foraging in the World a days. 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