NORTH AMERICAN PORCUPINE

ERETHIZON DORSATUM

The Brandywine Zoo has two North American porcupines. If you visit the zoo you’ll see Peanut on exhibit. Peanut was born in 2013. Juniper, who was born in 2015, is an Ambassador Animal, which means she is trained to help our educators teach about porcupines, and can even travel off site to schools and libraries! Even though Peanut and Juniper are both adults, Peanut is almost twice the size as Juniper. Just like people, porcupines can come in many sizes!

THREATS & CONSERVATION

No major threats to the species as a whole. However, because of the damage caused to property, including trees, crops and car tires, porcupines are often hunted or trapped. In Mexico, it is considered in danger of extinction due to hunting. More effective population controls may be the management of a healthy population of fishers, the porcupine’s main predator.

Fun Facts

Porcupine means “spiny pig” in Middle French

Porcupines are selective eaters; out of 1000 trees, one or two are acceptable Lindens, and one is a Bigtooth Aspen

The porcupine has an extraordinary ability to learn complex mazes and to remember them as much as a hundred days

Because of its dangerous quills, the North American porcupine is often avoided as prey

The porcupine is the only native North American mammal with antibiotics in its skin. These antibiotics prevent infection when a porcupine gets stuck with its own quills