True Wild Life | Porcupine | The porcupine is one of the worlds largest rodents, with porcupines weighing around 12 kg. The porcupine is thought to be from the same family as the hedgehog but the DNA of the porcupine is not as old as that of the hedgehog. The porcupine is found inhabiting the forests and jungles of Asia, Europe, parts of Africa, and both North and South America. The porcupine feeds on insects and occasionally small reptiles and eggs.
Like its ancestor the hedgehog, the porcupine has a coat of long spikes to protect itself from danger. The porcupine spikes are much longer than those of the hedgehog, with the spikes from a porcupine often containing poison. There are nearly 30 different species of porcupine found in their native habitats around the world. The porcupine can vary in size from a tiny 1 kg porcupine in South America to the enormous 10 kg porcupine in Africa. Porcupines tend to be brown and grey in colour, but some of the rarer porcupine species can be found in white.
The sharp, needle-like quills of the porcupine are about 7 cm long and can be detached very easily. The attacker of a porcupine can easily end up with sharp quills in their skin which are venomous and very difficult (not to mention painful) to extract. It has been known for large predators be die as a result of the quills of the porcupine, generally from infection.
Porcupines are very vocal during mating season and the gestation period is about 7 months, when only one porcupine pup is born. Newborn porcupine pups weigh around 450 g and are about 25 cm (10 inches) long. The young porcupines are born with fully functional quills and the porcupine pup will stay with its mother for about 6 months.