How Do Porcupines Attack?

What are Porcupines and Quills? How do they Look? What is their Defense Mechanism? Are they Dangerous?
How Do Porcupines Attack

This world is full of various different species of animals, and they live in regions according to their habitat. Every animal has a safety mechanism that helps in protecting itself from predators. One such animal is porcupines, and they are famous for their quills. Sometimes you might wonder how far can porcupines shoot their quills and how do porcupines attack the predators. You will also get to know whether a porcupine attack human or not.

1. What are Porcupines?

  • A porcupine belongs to the family of rodents. They are larger than most rodents and differ from them because of their special coat of needles. The spikes on their coat are known as quills. (See Top 8 world’s smallest animals)
  • It is like the ultimate weapon that protects them from predators and attackers. The word porcupine is derived from a Latin word, Porcus meaning, pig spina, spine, quill. The baby porcupine is known as a porcupette. Some porcupines species are known to be the third-largest rodent in the world after Capybara and Beavers. (Also read 6 Stork Delivery Facts)

2. How do they Look?

Generally, porcupines are 25 to 36 inches long (60 to 90 cm), and the length of their tales is between 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm). They are usually round and large in shape and walk slowly. The most common color combinations found in them are brown, white, and grey. (Also read Adorable Golden Possum that Looks like Pikachu)

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3. What is their Strategy for Self-Defense?

Most porcupines are known to use an aposematic trick and strategy for self-defense. Aposematic is the trick of sitting in a type of advertisement of signal sending technique that most animals use against their predators to tell them that they are not worth eating. This strategy may involve sounds, colorations, or body parts like venom or spikes. It indirectly saves both the predator and prey from harm. (Also read Why Are Cats Tongue So Rough?)

4. Where are they Found?

Porcupines were large animals living in terrestrial areas. They were known to be nocturnal animals in earlier periods. But with time, they have also evolved themselves, and now they can climb trees and are mostly found in wooden areas. They are found in areas of tropical and temperate forests in Africa, South America, Southern Europe, parts of Asia, and North America. They occupy small habitat ranges like forests, deserts, hillsides, and rocky outcrops. 

The way how do porcupines attack is quite similar to their ancestors. The porcupines found in modern days are much smaller than their ancestors and most of them spend their whole life on the tree. (Also read Where are Leeches found?)

5. What do they Eat? 

Porcupines live solitarily and are not very social. If they are with another porcupine, that will be a group of a mother and her child. They are herbivores and love to eat wood, barks, and stems of the trees. Apart from this, they also eat fruits, leaves, nuts, seeds, and grass. 

Sometimes they can be seen chewing on bones. It is to sharpen their teeth, and they receive the necessary amount of calcium, salt, and minerals from it. Even though they are known as herbivores, they eat lizards and bugs every now and then. (Also read What Do Possums Eat?)

6. How sharp are their Quills?

Before understanding how do porcupines attack, you should read about quills.

  • The coat of all porcupines is covered with numerous quills. Porcupines attack basically from quills which are modified hair that are much harder than the normal fur of the animals. 
  • These quills are like tiny needles, and they are very sharp with barbs at their tips. The size of their quills depends upon their age and breed but they act like needles. Their quills are loosely attached and regrow to replace the fallen ones. The sharp tips make it easy for them to pierce into the skin of the attacker or predator. (Also read How Do Snake Fangs Work?)

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7. How far can Porcupines Shoot their Quills?

How do porcupines attack with their quills? Their most essential defense mechanism is their quills that are present in the quantity of approximately 30 thousand in number. It is a misconception that porcupines can shoot their quills in the desired direction but, this is not true. Their quills get detached very easily from their body so, when a predator comes near them and touches the quills, it immediately gets pierced into the skin of the predator. (Also read 7 Chupacabra Animal Facts)

But the porcupine really doesn’t have to do much because their attacker is responsible for their own mistake. One interesting fact about their spines is that they get easily inserted into the skin of the predator but are difficult to remove because of the presence of barbs. Removing them is a painful process that teaches an essential lesson to the victim. Now the next segment will tell you about how do porcupines attack. (Also read Emu War Casualties)

8. How Porcupine attack Human?

Just like all other animals, porcupines also do not attack unless and until they are disturbed. As far as humans are concerned, porcupines are usually afraid of humans. It is also considered that they are nocturnal because of this reason only that they do not have to face humans. If a human disturbs them, they run away but, if they can’t, they raise their quills so that they look bigger. (Also read Why do sharks attack humans?)

If a human lets no way open for the porcupine to run or hide, then using their quills will be their last discourse. But they will not shoot them at you, but you will get your hand pricked yourself if you try to pick them up. The only way porcupines attack can be through their quills because porcupines never bite humans or other animals. (See Are Possums Dangerous to Humans?)

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9. How not Removing the Quills can be Dangerous?

As you know how do porcupines attack, you must also read about the consequences of being hurt.

  • Quills are not poisonous but, they are carriers of rodent infections like rabies and tick fever. It is necessary to remove the quills from the skin of humans or animals because the longer they will remain inside the skin, the chances of infections increase.
  • It is also necessary to remove it, because if the quill breaks, it tends to move inside the skin and gets deeper into the flesh, and then it becomes difficult to remove them. It can lead to severe damage to the internal organs resulting in life-threatening situations. (Also read How to Get Rid of Possums Permanently?)

10. Is it Impossible to touch a Porcupine?

No, it is not impossible to touch them because an animal is not harmful if it is calm. The same is the case with porcupines. One has to be very gentle, before touching a porcupine, make sure the little creature is calm with you being around. This kind of behavior of a porcupine can only be achieved by training. Never try this trick with the wild porcupine to avoid any unforeseen circumstances. (See Can Possums be Pets?)

So today, you got the answer to how do porcupines attack and how far can porcupines shoot their quills which actually they don’t shoot. You also find out that they attack humans very rarely and only when they feel trapped. Do not harm any animal just for personal fun. (Also read What Causes Funny Bone Pain?)

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