North American Porcupine

STATUSLeast Concern

COMMON NAME (SCIENTIFIC NAME)Erethizon dorsatum

DIETTwigs, roots, stems, berries, conifer needles, tree bark, and vegetation

RANGENorth America

HABITATForest, scrub lands, tundra, and deserts

North American Porcupine

The North American Porcupine is covered in quills except the snout, throat, belly and feet pads. While the porcupine does not throw quills, the flailing muscular tail and powerful body thrust may help impel quills deeply into attackers.

Range:  Spans across various regions of North America, including most of Canada, the Northeast and Western United States, and into Northern Mexico.

Habitat: Typically inhabit coniferous and mixed forest areas but have also adapted to live in scrub lands, tundra, and desert regions.

Life Cycle/ Social Structure: Porcupines are generally solitary in nature, although groups up to a dozen may gather at certain nocturnal feeding sites during summer and early autumn. Numerous porcupines may share a den on a rotating basis, and several may share a winter den at the same time. During autumn breeding season, a number of males are found around adult females in estrus. During the summer, the nocturnal porcupine often spends the day resting safely in trees.

Interesting Facts:

North American Porcupines have over 30,000 quills.