North American Porcupine

Basic Information:

Scientific Name: Erethizon dorsatum

Habitat: North American porcupines can be found throughout forested areas across North America, but have also adapted to live within shrublands, tundra, and even deserts.    

Diet: North American porcupines are strictly herbivores, eating a variety of leaves, grasses, fruits, and roots and tubers. In the winter they survive on wood, bark, and pine needles.

Size: 1 to 1.5 feet tall / 2 to 3 feet long

Weight: About 20 pounds

Lifespan: 7.1 years according to AZA Species Survival Statistics

Distribution Map:

I.U.C.N. Conservation Status:

What does this mean?

Least Concern – a species determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.) to be pervasive, abundant, and thriving.

Our North American Porcupines:

Widget (Male) – Born April 19, 2010
Prickles (Female) – Born May 15, 2020

About North American Porcupines:

The North American Porcupine are solitary animas that can become offensive when threatened. They prefer hard and soft wood forest but can be found in Tundra and Rangeland (Grasslands). They are herbivores who eat leaves, roots, grasses and fruits. In the winter they survive on wood, bark and pine needles. The average adult porcupine can have up to 30,000 quills.

Did You Know?!

  • North American porcupines are the third largest rodents in the world, followed by the capybara and the beaver. In fact, porcupines are the the 2nd largest rodent in US.
  • Porcupines have the signature orange rodent teeth that never stop growing. Their teeth contain iron to aid in chewing and filing. This iron is what gives their teeth an orange tint.
  • North American porcupines don’t hibernate! Instead, they hide themselves in a dark place such as a cave, a den, or a tree. This can protect them from predators.
  • North American porcupines spend about 3/4ths their lives in trees! Their curved nails aid in climbing.
  • The average adult porcupine has close to 30,000 quills of varying sizes. They can not shoot these quills!
  • North American porcupines are nocturnal meaning that they are mostly active at night! 

Due to the INCLEMENT WEATHER, the Utica Zoo will be closed on TUESDAY, MARCH 14. We apologize for the inconvenience.