Porcupines' bodies are easy to distinguish. They are 25 to 36 inches long with an 8 to 10 inch long tail. They weigh 12 to 35 pounds, imagining that, they are round-shaped and very slow. They typically have dark brown fur,but may have darker or lighter fur as well. They are covered with large barbed quills all across their bodies, except on their underside. One porcupine can have up to 30,000 quills! Each quill has microscopic barbs or hooks that help drive them deeper into the body of the unlucky predators. Most porcupines have a robust body, small head, small ears, short legs, and a short, thick tail. Their front feet have four toes; the back feet have five toes. Each toe has a curved claw, which porcupines use to climb trees or strip away bark to eat. Porcupines have large orange teeth and strong jaws, which is perfect for their diet. They eat the inner bark of many types of trees and bushes. They will also eat on foliage, twigs, bark buds, fruits, nuts, berries, flowers, and even deer and elk antlers to get calcium.
During the end of the summer to fall, porcupines look for mates. Competition for available females is fierce; males fight, sometimes to the death,just to mate with a female. During the courtship phase, the male makes his interest clear in a number of ways, including chasing and fighting with the female, and even peeing on her head. At the end of this courtship, a female shows her willingness to mate by flattening her quills, which prevents injury to the male when it starts. Porcupine mating is over when one of them climbs a tree or screams in a loud manner. Fall is mating season; spring is when babies are born . Porcupine babies, called porcupettes, are usually born during the months of April or May. Air hardens the quills, allowing the newborn some type of protection from predators. Porcupettes are about 10 inches long when theyre born. They can walk at birth and already have teeth. Both of these things are important, because the babies nourish themselves by eating vegetation just a few days after theyre born. They also nurse for the first two months. When summer ends, porcupettes begin living independently, even though they will not be fully grown for three or four years.
Porcupine vs. Lion. Who Will Win?
- Unknown Author.  Porcupine. Web.Last Updated on January 13, 2015.
- Unknown Author.  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Web. Last Updated on December 2014.