Porcupines – The Quill Pigs
Like beavers, porcupines live in woodlands and forests where they eat wood and bark. Sometimes they even sneak into campgrounds to chew on canoe paddles or other wooden items. Porcupines also eat soft plants and fruit.
The Latin word for porcupine means “quill pig.” Porcupines are covered with as many as 30,000 quills. Some quills are 12 inches long. That’s bigger than your foot! The quills are barbed so they stick into an animal’s skin. Normally, the quills lay down flat, but when a porcupine is scared, its quills stand up. A porcupine’s quills say, “Don’t mess with me!”
Fun Facts about Porcupines for Kids
- Porcupines can climb trees.
- Porcupines live in North America, Asia, Europe and Africa.
- There are over 24 kinds of porcupines.
- Porcupines have big front teeth for chewing wood.
- Porcupine babies have soft quills. The quills harden in two days.
- Woodland: Area with trees, ponds and grass
- Paddle: Oar
- Quill: Sharp, pointed object
- Campground: A place where people camp
Learn More All About Porcupines
Check out a porcupine up close:
A video about the porcupine’s quill and self defense mechanism.
Question: Can porcupines shoot their quills?
Answer: No, porcupines can’t shoot their quills as previously believed.
Question: How big are porcupines?
Answer: The African crested porcupine is the largest porcupine. It grows up to 36 inches long. The smallest porcupine is the Bahia hair dwarf porcupine, which grows only 15 inches.
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