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American porcupine


5 fun facts about the American Porcupine

April 1st, 2015, by Ecomuseum Zoo
Is there a porcupine in the area?

One of the distinctive yet lesser known traits of the Porcupine is its … body odor! Indeed a particularly strong odor emanates from the Porcupine; an odor that falls somewhere between urine and sweat. Although unpleasant to humans, the sent is quite useful: it warns intruders that they are entering a Porcupine’s territory. It is therefore an excellent defense mechanism!

Thousands of quills !

The fact that Porcupines cannot « throw » their quills does not detract from the fact that they do possess an impressive number of them. A single Porcupine can have over 30,000 quills! As noted however, and contrary to popular belief, they cannot “throw” or “launch” these quills: rather the quills will detach from their body as they come in contact with, for example, a predator.

Perseverant males

When it comes to reproduction, male Porcupines are a perseverant bunch. Female Porcupines are only receptive to reproduction 48 hours per year. Now that’s why I call a question of timing!

A truly odorous mating ritual!

Attention gentlemen, this technique only applies to the animal kingdom! When a male Porcupine finds a female Porcupine for copulation, he begins a unique courting ritual to convince her to mate: he sprays her abundantly with his urine! It would seem that the male Porcupine’s urine contains hormones that incite the female to be more receptive.

Perfect teeth?

Although brilliantly white and perfectly straight teeth are prized by humans, this trend has not taken root in the Porcupine world! Their teeth are bright orange and full of iron to help them gnaw on trees and branches. Their incisors never stop growing so it’s imperative that they find something to bite into … rodents, geesh!

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