So it just came to my attention that we have yet to delve into the life of the Porcupine. Sure, we talked about the Indian Crested Porcupine but not the regular ol’ Porcupine found throughout North America. I need to be clear that there are about 29 different Porcupine species, with the Indian Crested being one of them. Today I just want to focus on the one I grew up watching in Canada, which we will identify as the North American Porcupine. Luckily, there is only one species found living in Canada and the USA so it makes our task much easier.
Surprisingly, the North American Porcupine is the largest of all the Porcupine species with a weight between 5-16 kg (12-35 lbs). Although they are quite large, they are actually difficult to spot in their natural environment as a result of the camouflage properties of their most popular feature, the quills. The fact that the North American Porcupine loves to climb and spends a great deal of time in the trees also helps them stay invisible.
I find it interesting that the Porcupine spends a lot of time in the trees since they absolutely love eating wood such as tree bark, plant stems, etc. Personally, I think this is funny since they are literally eating themselves out of house and home. It would be like us living in a house made entirely of pizza…..mmmmm……I kind of want a pizza house now. The North American Porcupine does mix it up a little and also feeds on fruit, leaves and those delicious plant buds.
It is believed that the Porcupine has about 30,000 quills! Yeah, you read that right. Now, they aren’t able to shoot the quills like it was originally thought but they do detach quite easily. This is why you had to pull quills out of the nose of your curious (and foolish) dog. The quills of the Porcupine are barbed, so once they get stuck, they are incredibly difficult to remove.
As you can imagine, the Porcupine doesn’t have many predators as a result of this impressive defence mechanism. Other than humans, the Fisher is the only other successful predator of the North American Porcupine. How is this possible? Well, they are agile enough to attack just the head of the Porcupine where there are no spines. Just goes to show that no matter how good your defence is, nature will find a way around it.
Well, that does it for today’s Wild Fact. I am looking forward to seeing you tomorrow for the very last fact of the week. Make sure you stop by because it will be a good one. Enjoy the rest of your day!