Porcupines are one of the many animals that live in the Rockies that are not commonly seen. Here are 8 porcupine facts to help you learn more about them.
I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the Rocky Mountains and other parts of the world. In all of that time outdoors I’ve only seen a porcupine once. Strangely, it occurred while I was riding a ski lift and looking down between some trees! These animals are active during winter and you may get lucky to see one.
8 Porcupine Facts
As we all know, these animals bodies are covered in thousands of spiky quills. The quills are hairs (remember, all mammals have hair on their bodies) that have been modified into sharp, mostly hollow spines.
Can they throw their quills? No. Despite rumors and myths, porcupines aren’t able to actually ‘throw’ or shoot their quills at enemies. However, they can swish their tail super fast, which serves the same purpose.
The porcupine is a herbivore. It eats mainly green plants, twigs, buds, and the bark of trees. Since this animal is a herbivore, its scat is in the form of pellets. The scat may be found at the base of a tree that it feeds upon. It’s scat is not a consistent shape or size, but is quite variable.
They can be found in forests, mainly coniferous forests, throughout the Rockies. In other words you can find them in a grove of pine trees, spruce trees, or fir trees. They actually are able to live up quite high in elevation, up to the sub-alpine zone.
Maybe one of the reasons that they are rarely seen is because they are mainly nocturnal. Also, these are one of the animals that are active in the Rockies during the winter. In fact, these mammals are active all year round.
These spiky animals are good climbers and often climb trees. I just want to clarify something here. I’m talking about the porcupines in North America, which are known as the New World porcupines. Their relatives in Europe, Asia, and Africa (the Old World ones) are not good climbers.
A porcupine is a member of the rodent family. Yep, this prickly animal is related to rats. In fact, it is the second largest rodent in North America. Do you know what is the biggest rodent in North America? Click here to find out the answer and learn some cool facts about it.
Porcupines live a long (average 15 – 18 years) and solitary life. Generally, they live alone, but they can be found in groups of up to 6 animals.
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