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NORTH AMERICAN PORCUPINE

Scientific Name: Erethizon dorsatum
Order
Rodentia

Family
Erethizontidae

Habitat & Range
As it’s name suggests, the North American porcupine’s range spans across various regions of North America, including most of Canada, the Western United States, and into Northern Mexico. They typically inhabit coniferous and mixed forest areas but have also adapted to live in scrublands, tundra, and desert regions.

Identification
FIND ME AT EPZ
Name: SPORK (male); GUINESS (male); IVANA (female); LOLA (female); PEANUT (female)
Location: The Wetlands, adjacent to the river otters
Arrived at EPZ: 6/26/14
 
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The North American porcupine is the largest of all porcupine species. Its stout body is covered in soft, brown or black hair with white highlights. The back, sides and tail are covered with thousands of sharp quills that are easily released when touched and serve as the porcupine’s main defense against predators. An average adult porcupine is 2 to 3 feet long with a tail measuring an additional 7 to 10 inches. Their weight can range from 12 to 36 pounds.

Diet
During the summer, porcupines feed on twigs, roots, stems, berries, and other vegetation. In the winter, they survive on conifer needles and tree bark.

Reproduction & Lifespan
Porcupines typically mate during October and November and females give birth to a single offspring after approximately 200 days. The young are born with soft quills that harden just a few hours after birth. Female porcupines reach sexual maturity at around 2 years and males at 2.5 years.
Porcupines have an average lifespan of 6 to 18 years.
 
 
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