North American Porcupine

Erethizon dorsatum

Northamericanporcupine Gallery

About the North American Porcupine


Geographic Range:


Class: Mammalia  
Order: Rodentia
Family: Erethizontidae
Genus: Erethizon   
Species: dorsatum 

The North American porcupine has a thick underfur covered with long, wiry guard hairs on the front of its body. There are up to 30,000 shorter, heavier quills on its back, sides, legs, and tail. When threatened, the porcupine doesn’t “shoot” its quills. It sheds them upon impact so the quills imbed in their attacker. The name porcupine is derived from a French word meaning “thorny hog.”