PorcupineBrush-tailed porcupine
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Porcupine

Porcupines are rodents best known for their coat of sharp spines, or quills, that defend them from predators. The porcupines include the third largest rodent, after the capybara and the mara. Most porcupines are about 60-90 cm (25-36 inches) long, with a 20-25 cm (8-10 inch) long tail. more...

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Weighing between 5-16 kg (12-35 pounds), they are rounded, large and slow. Porcupines come in various shades of brown, grey, and the unusual white. The name "porcupine" comes from combining the Latin for pig and French for spine, hence the nickname "quill pig" for the animal.

In parts of Africa, porcupines are eaten as a form of bush meat.

Quills

The porcupine's chief defense is its quills, sharp spines distributed across the rodent's back, sides, legs, tail and head. They may be as dense as 150 per square inch, giving one animal as many as 30,000 quills. Contrary to popular belief, porcupines do not throw their quills; unfortunate victims approach closely enough to be swatted by the tail or brush against the animal. Like the related ordinary hairs, porcupine quills grow back when they come out.

When threatened, a porcupine will raise its quills. This is the piloerection reflex, the same as the goose bump reflex in humans.

A porcupine can defend itself by hiding its bare face from an attacker and keeping its bare belly to the ground. It may swat its tail at an assailant. The quills are not poisoned, but animals may die from a porcupine encounter if the quills prevent eating. Porcupines often fall on their own quills. Likely as an evolutionary result, the quills possess mild antibiotic properties.

Quills are sharp-pointed, fitted with microscopic barbs, and expand on contact with warm flesh. Muscle contractions in a quill victim work the quill deeper, as much as 2 cm per day unless the quills are removed promptly.

Male porcupines use urine to soften the females' quills before mating.

Fishers sometimes successfully attack porcupines by biting their faces.

Habitat

Porcupines occupy a wide range of habitats in tropical and temperate parts of Asia, Italy, Africa and the Americas. Porcupines live in forests, deserts and grasslands. Some live in trees, others stay on the ground.

Porcupines in search of salt sometimes encroach on areas inhabited by people and eat tool handles, clothes and other items that have been coated in salty sweat.

Species

A porcupine is any of 23 species of rodent belonging to the families Erethizontidae and Hystricidae. All defend themselves with sharp spines (which are actually modified hairs) rather like those of the hedgehogs, which are part of the order Insectivora and more closely related to shrews and moles than they are to the rodents, and the echidnas, which as monotremes are very distantly related indeed.

Porcupines vary in size considerably: Rothschild's Porcupine of South America weighs less than a kilogram; the African Porcupine can grow to well over 20 kg.

Read more at Wikipedia.org


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(1109) Two Individual Paper Luncheon Decoupage Napkins - Hedgehog Mammal(1109) Two Individual Paper Luncheon Decoupage Napkins - Hedgehog Mammal $1.98 925 Sterling Silver Spiny Back Hedgehog Porcupine Mammal Animal Pendant925 Sterling Silver Spiny Back Hedgehog Porcupine Mammal Animal Pendant $41.50
Sonic the Hedgehog Archives Ser: Sonic the Hedgehog Archives by Sonic.Sonic the Hedgehog Archives Ser: Sonic the Hedgehog Archives by Sonic. $6.99 Ambesonne Hedgehog Wall Art with Frame for Bathrooms Living Room DormsAmbesonne Hedgehog Wall Art with Frame for Bathrooms Living Room Dorms $74.99
Adorable Hedgehog Poster 12x12 spiny cute mammal animal art printAdorable Hedgehog Poster 12x12 spiny cute mammal animal art print $28.99 A Porcupine Named Fluffy [Laugh-Along Lessons] by Lester, Helen , PaperbackA Porcupine Named Fluffy [Laugh-Along Lessons] by Lester, Helen , Paperback $3.87
Canada Stamp #1156 Mammal Definitive - Porcupine Mnh 1988Canada Stamp #1156 Mammal Definitive - Porcupine Mnh 1988 $0.77 Hedgehog Spiny Mammal 100+ Y/O Trade Ad CardHedgehog Spiny Mammal 100+ Y/O Trade Ad Card $5.59
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Lifelike Realistic Spinal Mammal Animal Baby Hedgehog Collectible Figurine 6"LLifelike Realistic Spinal Mammal Animal Baby Hedgehog Collectible Figurine 6"L $26.99 Moldova 2011 Nature Fauna Forest Animals Mammals Fox Wolf Hedgehog Badger 4v MnhMoldova 2011 Nature Fauna Forest Animals Mammals Fox Wolf Hedgehog Badger 4v Mnh $1.89
Insectivore comparative anatomy rare bones Erinaceus Hedgehog Vertebra w/ ribsInsectivore comparative anatomy rare bones Erinaceus Hedgehog Vertebra w/ ribs $12.53 The History of Sonic the Hedgehog Udon Pix'N Love Hardcover (2013) Brand NewThe History of Sonic the Hedgehog Udon Pix'N Love Hardcover (2013) Brand New $38.00
Gb Mint Stamps 2010 Mammals Wild Animals Otter Hedgehog S/A Cylinder Booklet U/MGb Mint Stamps 2010 Mammals Wild Animals Otter Hedgehog S/A Cylinder Booklet U/M $3.74 (66) Two Individual Paper Luncheon Decoupage Napkins - Cute Hedgehog Mammal(66) Two Individual Paper Luncheon Decoupage Napkins - Cute Hedgehog Mammal $1.98
Hedgehog Spiny Mammal Vintage CardHedgehog Spiny Mammal Vintage Card $5.59 Canada 1988 sc#1156 Porcupine 2¢ Mammal Definitive, Mnh Ul Slater PbCanada 1988 sc#1156 Porcupine 2¢ Mammal Definitive, Mnh Ul Slater Pb $0.66
Knuckles the Echidna Archives Vol 1 by Sonic Scribe Staff (Paperback 2011)Knuckles the Echidna Archives Vol 1 by Sonic Scribe Staff (Paperback 2011) $34.99 New ListingA Porcupine Named Fluffy by Helen LesterNew ListingA Porcupine Named Fluffy by Helen Lester $0.99
Insectivore comparative anatomy rare bones Erinaceus Hedgehog Front limb legInsectivore comparative anatomy rare bones Erinaceus Hedgehog Front limb leg $31.31 genuine vintage 1930 Unusual B/W Etching woodcut print of a Porcupine mammalgenuine vintage 1930 Unusual B/W Etching woodcut print of a Porcupine mammal $19.89
$117.26 New ListingCyprus 2002 Cyta Chip Phonecard £3 'Hedgehog & Hare'New ListingCyprus 2002 Cyta Chip Phonecard £3 'Hedgehog & Hare' $1.00
Canada No 1156, Mammal Definitive: Porcupine, Mint NhCanada No 1156, Mammal Definitive: Porcupine, Mint Nh $0.77 Ambesonne Hedgehog Travel Mug Steel Thermal Cup 16 ozAmbesonne Hedgehog Travel Mug Steel Thermal Cup 16 oz $24.99
Sonic The Hedgehog: The Complete Sonic Comic EncyclopediaSonic The Hedgehog: The Complete Sonic Comic Encyclopedia $55.00 Insectivore comparative anatomy rare bones Erinaceus Hedgehog lower jaw teethInsectivore comparative anatomy rare bones Erinaceus Hedgehog lower jaw teeth $31.31
1824 Porcupine Histrix - K.J. Brodtmann hand colored Folio lithograph Mammal1824 Porcupine Histrix - K.J. Brodtmann hand colored Folio lithograph Mammal $65.00 Hedgehog Outline Woodland Animal Spiny Mammal Cookie Cutter Usa Pr3195Hedgehog Outline Woodland Animal Spiny Mammal Cookie Cutter Usa Pr3195 $1.99
Insectivore comparative anatomy rare bones Erinaceus Hedgehog display collectionInsectivore comparative anatomy rare bones Erinaceus Hedgehog display collection $18.79 Canada Plate Blocks 1156Mnh Mammal Definitives, Porcupine, Apl, SCanada Plate Blocks 1156Mnh Mammal Definitives, Porcupine, Apl, S $1.52
Ambesonne Hedgehog Soft Flannel Fleece Throw Blanket Plush for IndoorsAmbesonne Hedgehog Soft Flannel Fleece Throw Blanket Plush for Indoors $32.99 to Insectivore comparative anatomy Erinaceus Hedgehog quill spines, study 2 per bidInsectivore comparative anatomy Erinaceus Hedgehog quill spines, study 2 per bid $3.76
TheMogan Hedgehog Hamster Squirrel Small Mammal Plush Stuffed Animal ToyTheMogan Hedgehog Hamster Squirrel Small Mammal Plush Stuffed Animal Toy $10.99 to Lifelike Realistic Spinal Mammal Baby Hedgehog Lying On Back Decorative FigurineLifelike Realistic Spinal Mammal Baby Hedgehog Lying On Back Decorative Figurine $29.99
Anime Mammal Anthro Gamer 3-D Mouse Pad Breast Gaming Wrist Rest Multi DesignAnime Mammal Anthro Gamer 3-D Mouse Pad Breast Gaming Wrist Rest Multi Design $16.99 Jps_Stamps! #1156. "Mammal Definitives, Porcupine - Ul" (Pristine Condition)Jps_Stamps! #1156. "Mammal Definitives, Porcupine - Ul" (Pristine Condition) $1.55
Victoria Plum Victoria and the Prickly Hedgehog Angela Rippon 1982Victoria Plum Victoria and the Prickly Hedgehog Angela Rippon 1982 $5.99 Jps_Stamps! #1156."Mammal Definitive,Porcupine" 1/Ur, 1/Lr(Pristine Condition)Jps_Stamps! #1156."Mammal Definitive,Porcupine" 1/Ur, 1/Lr(Pristine Condition) $1.55
Ambesonne Hedgehog Wall Art with Wide Frame for Bathrooms Living RoomAmbesonne Hedgehog Wall Art with Wide Frame for Bathrooms Living Room $74.99 Sonic the Hedgehog Archives, Vol. 2Sonic the Hedgehog Archives, Vol. 2 $12.00
Lulu and the Hedgehog in the Rain [5] , McKay, HilaryLulu and the Hedgehog in the Rain [5] , McKay, Hilary $5.01 Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Quest for the Magic PorcupineStinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Quest for the Magic Porcupine $4.08
Ambesonne Hedgehog Coaster Set of 4 Square Hardboard Gloss CoastersAmbesonne Hedgehog Coaster Set of 4 Square Hardboard Gloss Coasters $19.99 ZooFleece Hedgehog Blanket Quilt Pet Porcupine Spiky Mammal Cute Animal 50X60"ZooFleece Hedgehog Blanket Quilt Pet Porcupine Spiky Mammal Cute Animal 50X60" $25.46
Aland. Fdc 1991. Mammals. Hedgehog, Squirrel, Deer.Aland. Fdc 1991. Mammals. Hedgehog, Squirrel, Deer. $3.85 Canada sc#1156 Mammal : Porcupine, Ur Imprint Block, Mint-NhCanada sc#1156 Mammal : Porcupine, Ur Imprint Block, Mint-Nh $0.86
New ListingSonic Universe 6: Treasure Team Tango Tpb Sonic the Hedgehog Archie ComicsNew ListingSonic Universe 6: Treasure Team Tango Tpb Sonic the Hedgehog Archie Comics $49.95 Chromolithograph Circa 1890 Antique Selmar Hess, Louis Prang PorcupineChromolithograph Circa 1890 Antique Selmar Hess, Louis Prang Porcupine $10.00
Aland Finland 1991 Fdc - Mammals - Animals - Squirrel - Hedgehog - DeerAland Finland 1991 Fdc - Mammals - Animals - Squirrel - Hedgehog - Deer $3.50
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