Porcupines are large rodents with thousands of quills that protect them against predators.

[AZ Animals]

Porcupines are the third largest rodent on the planet and scientists have grouped them into the old world porcupines and the new world porcupines. They are mammals who are mostly active in the night (Nocturnal).

The old world porcupines are native to Italy, Western and Southern Asia and Africa, while the new world porcupines are native to North America and Northern South America. The distinctive feature of the old world porcupines is that they are larger and strictly nocturnal. However, the new world porcupines are less nocturnal and smaller in size.

Porcupines are also often called “Quill-pigs”. They hold the record of the longest living rodent. A baby porcupine is called a “porcupette”. They are herbivores who feed on grass, herbs, and twigs and may eat barks in winter.

The new world species often climb trees to find food, while the old world species hunt on the ground and also feed on fruits.

Porcupines are known to defend themselves from predators through quill erection, teeth clattering, emitting of odor and attack. They often attack their predators either by running into them sideways or backwards as a last resort. Their tail is swung into the predator which may cause injury or death.

Although, they do not have the ability to launch their quills at their predators, the result is severe upon impact. The quills are released when they shake their body and new ones are grown in its place.

Interestingly, the porcupine quills are believed to contain antibiotics that are associated with free fatty acids embedded in them. Scientists believe this helps a porcupine that has suffered self-injury to heal.




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Written by Monsurat

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