North American porcupine

North American Porcupines

Discover one of nature’s most iconic defense mechanisms. We are home to female rescue ‘Nettles’.

Quills, quills, quills, there are a lot of quills

North American porcupines are famous for their quills, and for good reason – these sharp spikes burrow into an attacker’s skin and do not come out easily. Contrary to popular belief, porcupines do not shoot their quills, but having 30,000 quills that grow continuously means that they detach easily. This defense mechanism not only deters attackers, but the colour of quills also helps a porcupine blend into its forest home.


  • IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (at relatively low risk of extinction)
  • Type: Mammal
  • Habitat: Forests of Canada, the United States, and Mexico
  • Diet: Herbivore – fruit, leaves, and buds
  • Size: 35 to 36 inches; 8- to 10-inch long tail
  • Weight: 12 to 35 pounds
North American Porcupine North American Porcupine North American Porcupine
North American Porcupine

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facts about our animals

Fun Facts about North American Porcupines

Porcupines may sleep in trees.

Porcupines have soft hair and long guard hairs.

They are good swimmers.

Their courtship involves vocalizations, a dance, and the male urinating on the female.

A female usually only gives birth to one porcupette.

Babies are born with soft quills, which harden after just hours or days after birth.

North American Porcupine


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