North American Porcupine

(Erethizon dorsatum)


STATUS: Native, “Least Concern”

DESCRIPTION: It is the second largest rodent in North America, surpassed only by the beaver. They are normally dark brown or black with white highlights, and have a stocky body type. They can be 2-3 feet long not counting the tail and can be 7- 40 lbs. It has around 30,000 quills on every part of its body but the underbelly, face, and feet. The quills are hollow and can be detached to stick potential predators.

DIET: They eat twigs, roots, stems, and berries in the summer. In the winter, they eat conifer needles and tree bark.

HABITAT: Coniferous and mixed forests, but also found in shrublands, tundra, and deserts. They den in hollow trees or rocky areas.

NOTES: Porcupines can produce a strong odor to scare away predators.

Photo Credit: shadowsstocks at