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address and we'll post it. Porcupine Links Porcupines WNR Magazine - Porcupines

Porcupines African Crested Porcupines Porcupines Porcupines; Order: rodent. A
porcupine's habitat and range: forests, deserts, and grasslands of North and

South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Porcupines can weigh from 2 to 60
pounds depending on the species. A prickly coat of needle-sharp quills is the
porcupine's best defense. Ordinarily the quills lay flat. But if an enemy
approaches the porcupine will raise the quills and spread them, usually
deterring the enemy. If the animal is not deterred the quills may lodge in the
enemy's flesh when the porcupine brushes against the animal. New quills grow in
to relace the lost ones. The porcupine cannot throw its quills. There are two
groups of porcupines. They differ in habits and appearance. The porcupines of
the Americas also climb trees. Some have been seen using their tails to hold on
to branches. In the winter the North American porcupine eats evergreen needles
and bark. When spring arrives they feed on leaves, buds, stems, and fruit.

Depending on the species, the gestation period is from 2 to 7 months, bearing 1
to 4 young. The life span of captive porcupines can be as much as 20 years. The

Future of the Porcupine They are nearsighted, have a deep red shine to their
eyes, and four toes on each front foot and five toes on each hind foot. But,
apparently, looking different does not stop porcupines from being the most
popular animals at the Museum. The habitat is home to two resident porcupines,
who are aptly named Cactus and Lance. From the February 1996 issue: Wisconsin's
prickly rodent The misunderstood porcupine is a boon to the Northwoods. Alan D.

Martin The common porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) is a wonderful, necessary
member of Northwoods wildlife, and I'm glad it is here in large numbers. Throw
stones if you want, but I'll stand by porkies. They kill trees, you say? Well,
owls, wood ducks, hooded mergansers and woodpeckers need homes too, and
porcupines are part of nature's snag-making team. Porcupines hurt my dog, you
say? Well, most dogs learn from that first painful mistake and don't go near
porcupines again. Only one of my family's six hunting dogs hasn't gotten a
snootful of quills in recent years, and only one needed a second dose to learn
the lesson. The other grousers now bark, from a distance, at the quill-pig.

Because of such mishaps, some porcupines are shot on sight. That's a real shame
because the porky isn't only the prickliest resident of the Northwoods, it's
also one of the most interesting. Porkies are the second-largest rodent in

Wisconsin after the North American beaver. They can weigh 30 pounds or more in
summer but their weight drops dramatically during the lean months of winter.

Porcupines live in the northern two-thirds of the state in a territory that
extends in a V-shape from about the Ellsworth area in Pierce County down to

Wisconsin Dells and back up toward Green Bay. Porcupines, like most rodents, are
vegetarians. Their winter diet consists of conifer needles, buds and the bark of
pines, hemlock, maples and birch. How these critters survive on foods with a
protein content of only two to three percent is truly amazing. Porcupines are
sloppy eaters who drop a lot of greenery that provides a welcome snack for
white-tailed deer during deep snows. If you spot a small pile of freshly-snipped
branches on a winter walk, it's likely porcupines are nearby. Their winter dens
are easy to find -- just follow your eyes and nose. Porcupines winter in caves
and hollow logs. They travel the same paths every day. Near their dens you'll
see distinctive fecal piles and smell the strong scent of concentrated urine. In
spring, abundant food allows the porcupines to roam more freely, and they grow
fat and healthy while dozing in the dog days of summer. Porkies consume tender
shoots, succulent twigs, roots, seeds and (often to the dismay of gardeners)
apples, melons, carrots, potatoes and other juicy produce. Nor are the
gardener's tools immune to the porcupine's gouging incisors. The animals need
sodium to rid their bodies of high levels of potassium from leaves and bark. Axe
handles, hoes, canoe paddles, gloves and anything else touched by salty human
hands are porcupine magnets. When defending itself, a porcupine sits very still,
faces away from its enemy, raises up, bristles and rattles its