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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The Porcupine - Barnes, Julian - New Paperback BookThe Porcupine - Barnes, Julian - New Paperback Book $13.12 Mattel Barbie Porcupine 20" Ivan Swan Lake 2003 Stuffed Animal Plush LargeMattel Barbie Porcupine 20" Ivan Swan Lake 2003 Stuffed Animal Plush Large $74.95
The North American Porcupine - New Hardcover BookThe North American Porcupine - New Hardcover Book $50.23 Holy Herd Noahs Ark Lot: fox, goat, porcupine.Holy Herd Noahs Ark Lot: fox, goat, porcupine. $15.00
Swarovski Crystal Figurine Porcupine/Hedgehog w/Black Eyes & Nose"Swarovski Crystal Figurine Porcupine/Hedgehog w/Black Eyes & Nose" $39.99 Light-up Porcupine Ring party favor package of 12Light-up Porcupine Ring party favor package of 12 $29.54
Unique Basket w/Porcupine Twist Wefts Made in ChinaUnique Basket w/Porcupine Twist Wefts Made in China $32.50 The Porcupine Year - Erdrich, Louise - New Hardcover BookThe Porcupine Year - Erdrich, Louise - New Hardcover Book $14.40
2009 Congo 10 Franc Endangered Wildlife Porcupine2009 Congo 10 Franc Endangered Wildlife Porcupine $37.00 2008 *New* Littlest Pet Shop Purple Porcupine/Hedgehog #1186 Vhtf Low Shipping2008 *New* Littlest Pet Shop Purple Porcupine/Hedgehog #1186 Vhtf Low Shipping $19.98
Pinup Girl We Look Em Over Vintage Matchbook Auto Body Porcupine SaskatchewanPinup Girl We Look Em Over Vintage Matchbook Auto Body Porcupine Saskatchewan $5.40 Echo & The Bunnymen Porcupine 123770 Lp Vinyl Vg+ Cover Vg+ SleeveEcho & The Bunnymen Porcupine 123770 Lp Vinyl Vg+ Cover Vg+ Sleeve $29.99
A Plumb Pudding for the Humane, Chaste, Valiant, Enlightened Peter Porcupine. byA Plumb Pudding for the Humane, Chaste, Valiant, Enlightened Peter Porcupine. by $17.76 Set of 6 Large African Porcupine Quills (6-8") Handpicked Crafts Decor HobbySet of 6 Large African Porcupine Quills (6-8") Handpicked Crafts Decor Hobby $12.99
Set Of 3 Massage Balls - Spiky, Porcupine, Lacrosse - Reflexology Pack, Pain RelSet Of 3 Massage Balls - Spiky, Porcupine, Lacrosse - Reflexology Pack, Pain Rel $54.60 Porcupine Tree - Recordings Used - Very Good Vinyl RecordPorcupine Tree - Recordings Used - Very Good Vinyl Record $33.99
Echo And The Bunnymen:Porcupine-1983 Album-Korova Cd Inc. Clay & The Cutter~NewEcho And The Bunnymen:Porcupine-1983 Album-Korova Cd Inc. Clay & The Cutter~New $4.17 Porcupine Tree Yellow Edgerow Dreamscape Rare CdPorcupine Tree Yellow Edgerow Dreamscape Rare Cd $19.99
Baccarat Crystal Porcupine Hedgehog Figurine France 5 1/4" Signed Paper WeightBaccarat Crystal Porcupine Hedgehog Figurine France 5 1/4" Signed Paper Weight $60.00 50 Pnw Washington State Porcupine Quills 2"-2 1/2" Great for beading50 Pnw Washington State Porcupine Quills 2"-2 1/2" Great for beading $4.50
Promo Nature Zone Porcupine / Rhythm 1976 45rpm Vg+Promo Nature Zone Porcupine / Rhythm 1976 45rpm Vg+ $12.99 5 pcs Alaska Natural Gold - Porcupine Creek - Tv Gold Rush Alaska (#G473-1)5 pcs Alaska Natural Gold - Porcupine Creek - Tv Gold Rush Alaska (#G473-1) $9.50
Memoirs of a Porcupine by Mabanckou, AlainMemoirs of a Porcupine by Mabanckou, Alain $9.61 A Quillwork Companion: An Illustrated Guide to Techniques of Porcupine Quill DecA Quillwork Companion: An Illustrated Guide to Techniques of Porcupine Quill Dec $33.04
Lot 3 Children's Picture Story Books Hardcover Porcupine Stew, Fenton's LeapLot 3 Children's Picture Story Books Hardcover Porcupine Stew, Fenton's Leap $6.99 Porcupine Named Fluffy - New Paperback BookPorcupine Named Fluffy - New Paperback Book $25.79
Taxidermy Skull Porcupine 4 1/4 inch acrossTaxidermy Skull Porcupine 4 1/4 inch across $28.00 Porcupine Claw/Lapis Lazuli/Blue Moonstone Power ShieldPorcupine Claw/Lapis Lazuli/Blue Moonstone Power Shield $60.00
Tim Easton - Porcupine [Digipak] Used - Very Good CdTim Easton - Porcupine [Digipak] Used - Very Good Cd $14.24 List price:  Previous Price $17.98 Littlest Pet Shop Tan Hedgehog Porcupine #485 Rare!Littlest Pet Shop Tan Hedgehog Porcupine #485 Rare! $5.21 Was:  Previous Price $6.95
African fauna aardvark porcupine elephant-shrew mole m/s Djibouti 2011 Mnh #H039African fauna aardvark porcupine elephant-shrew mole m/s Djibouti 2011 Mnh #H039 $2.00 Patience Brewster H7 Christmas Holiday – Mini Peety Porcupine Ornament 31231Patience Brewster H7 Christmas Holiday – Mini Peety Porcupine Ornament 31231 $22.93 Was:  Previous Price $26.98
Scene In Porcupine Mountains Mi Postcard - MichiganScene In Porcupine Mountains Mi Postcard - Michigan $2.65 Shopping For Porcupine - Kantner, Seth - New Hardcover BookShopping For Porcupine - Kantner, Seth - New Hardcover Book $25.48
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Prices current as of last update, 03/15/18 1:40pm.

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