The word porcupine means thorny or quill pigs. However, they are not actually pigs. They are rodents. The porcupine is the third largest rodent in the world. They are related to the beaver, mice, and rats.There are several species of porcupines. You can find them in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.Some species of porcupines are excellent swimmers, while others are great climbers.One thing that both porcupines have in common is that they are fat and small. So when you see them on the ground, they usually shuffle or waddle. Porcupines have poor eyesight but possess a great sense of smell.Porcupines communicate with one another by screeching, whining, and grunting.Soft hair and spiny quills cover a porcupine’s body. It grows on its back, sides, and tail. There are around 30,000 quills on each porcupine.The porcupine’s quills are usually flat, but when an enemy approaches it spikes up. They don’t shoot the quills. Instead, they attack their enemies by slapping their tail to insert the quills into their skin.When hit by a porcupine’s quills, predators have a hard time removing them because of the barbs or hooks at the end. The tips of a porcupine’s quills have an antibiotic that prevents infection if you get poked.A porcupine’s natural enemy is the fisher, along with wolves, owls, coyotes, and cougars.Porcupines easily lose their quills during fights, but they get replaced by new ones. Porcupines are nocturnal creatures. That means they are active during nighttime.Porcupines are herbivores. That means they only eat plants. Their meals usually consist of tree barks, twigs, berries, and grass.Porcupines can be solitary creatures or live with a group.A porcupine’s home is called a den which is usually hollow logs, crannies, and caves. A porcupine’s mating ritual consists of two males fighting over a female. The winner then pees on the girl to show that she’s his. Porcupines also pee the ground to mark their territory. Porcupines give birth to one or two babies, which are then raised by both parents. After a few months, the young porcupine will leave its parent to live on its own.A baby porcupine is called a porcupette. They are born with soft quills, which harden after a few days.Porcupines can live up to 15 to 18 years.In the past, porcupine quills were used by Native Americans as decorations in their clothes and furniture.
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