These practices have eliminated them from densely settled areas. The keratinous quills are modified hairs that grow back when shed and serve the important purpose of protecting these rodents from predators. Quills are released by contact or may drop out when the porcupine shakes its body. Another popular misconception is that porcupines shoot their quills at predators. Now that is curious. Some unfortunate carnivores have starved to death because a mouthful of quills has prevented them from eating. Three animals, however, has figured out how to eat porcupines. There are around 24 different species of porcupines across the globe and one thing that’s common among them is their pointed quills. Furthermore, they make a clattering sound that deters predators, and when they raise their spines, they look a lot like a skunk, which can also confuse any other animal looking to hunt a porcupine. The only problem with this trick is that it does not last. These include the coyote, red fox, black bear, bobcat, mink, marten, long-tailed weasel, ermine, and great horned owl. Get smart with the Thesis WordPress Theme from DIYthemes. (Vaughn, et al., 2000) All porcupines have long claws. They do not have canine teeth. But few animals know this porcupine-eating trick. The major difference between Old and New world species is that the Old World porcupines live on the ground and often in small groups, while the New World porcupin… Predators sometimes succumb to quills. As you have seen above, the belief that porcupines can shoot out their spines is false. What sets porcupines apart from most rodents is their ability to protect themselves with their large spines, also called quills. They are not poisonous, but they still pose a danger of infecting the wounded tissue. The smell has been described as similar to strong human body odor, goats, or some cheeses. Let’s have a look at the porcupine’s main predators. They also have a special arrangment of their jaw muscles which helps them to chew more efficiently. The odor is generated by a patch of skin called the rosette, on the lower back where modified quills serve as osmetrichia to broadcast the smell. They also like to eat outhouses, if you happen to have one. This specie have however developed an advanced defense mechanism that makes predators think twice before they consider them for a meal. Plus they have an intense craving for salt. As do wolves and coyotes. The North American porcupine has a strong odor to warn away predators, which it can increase when agitated. They do not. Moreover, the most … The most obvious trait is the long, sharp quills that cover their bodies. Sources: Elbroch, Mark. This has allowed them to attack porcupines successfully, because as a group they are turning them over and getting access to them without the defense of their quills.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'factsking_com-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_8',134,'0','0'])); As wolves are highly intelligent, it is now wonder they have learnt about the porcupines’ weaknesses and are exploiting them in this way.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'factsking_com-leader-2','ezslot_14',135,'0','0'])); Lynxes (from the same family as bobcats) routinely attack European porcupines, flipping them over and successfully preying on them for food. Porcupines vary in size considerably depending on species, however, they generally measure 60 – 90 centimetres (25 – 36 inches) in length (excluding tail which measures 20 – 25 centimetres (8 – 10 inches)) and weigh between 5 – 16 kilograms (12 – 35 pounds). The predators who attack the porcupines sharing one burrow are great horned owls, leopards, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions and wolves. Humans who have embedded quills should consult a physician immediately. Porcupines use the quills as a defense. So one of these predators will sometimes kill and eat a porcupine by flipping it onto its back and biting into its vulnerable belly. They normally survive many years, with the record in porcupine longevity being 27 years. Predators do not want to be stuck with the needles so they avoid hunting and eat this animal. As a result of this injury, the lion had difficulty continuing to hunt and couldn’t remove the quill, therefore resorted to attacking humans, which lions wouldn’t normally do. For this reason, porcupines do not have to fear being eaten by very many animals. Fishers are a primary predator of porcupines, but quills have been found embedded in coyotes, cougars, bobcats, foxes, lynxes, bears, wolves and even Great Horned Owls. Specifically with porcupines, coyotes have been seen attacking them in pairs – flipping them on their backs and feeding on their bellies. Let's have a look at how they do this. However, they still have a lot of natural predators who hunt them against all odds. When the porcupine does attack, it moves its tail to hit its quills against the predator. The “Old World” porcupines live mainly in southern Europe, Asia, and Africa. They wear a coat of sharp quills all over their body. This allows an animal to draw in its lips while gnawing. Coyotes are smaller than their relative the grey wolf, yet can cause quite a lot of damage to domestic households and will prey on chickens and other birds. Snakes have also died after swallowing porcupines. Porcupines are covered with quills that painfully stick into almost any predator that tries to attack them. A porcupine eats tender bark and twigs, along with other types of vegetation. Bobcats, cougars and fishers have learned that a porcupine has no quills on its stomach. Best Answer. For the most part, predators leave porcupines alone. But think about it. A quill from a porcupine can penetrate very deeply into their aggressor, and in one case a lion has been found with a quill that have been penetrated more than six inches into its snout, nearly reaching its brain. In an effort to remove the quills, the predator can cause the barbed quills to work into the deep tissues. Porcupines have special adaptations to help them chew. Fishers are uniquely adapted to attack porcupines because of their size – they often go for the unprotected face, whilst bigger predators try to attack the full body and struggle with the quills.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'factsking_com-banner-1','ezslot_1',130,'0','0']));eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'factsking_com-banner-1','ezslot_2',130,'0','1'])); The bobcat is part of the lynx family in North America, living predominantly in woodland but also in semi-desert as it is a very adaptable animal. Rodents make up about 40% of all the mammal species on Earth. A veterinarian should treat pets that have had a run-in with a porcupine. These predators kill a porcupine by biting its unprotected face or by flipping it over to expose the vulnerable underside. Yes, mountain lions, humans, bears, fisher cats, great horned owls all prey upon porcupines. Carnivorous predators are broken up into an additional two types: those that primarily scavenge carcasses, and those that primarily hunt and kill prey on their own. If you are interested, visit the Animal Facts Page! Bobcats, cougars and fishers have learned that a porcupine has no quills on its stomach. I hope that this article on porcupine predators was helpful! One porcupine predator, the fisher, is able to flip the North American porcupine onto its back, exposing its unprotected belly. The scent of some of the porcupine’s predators is beneficial. Contrary to some wildlife folklore, porcupines cannot “shoot” quills, rather their barbed quills penetrate and stick upon contact with any animal or object that it finds threatening. As human populations expand, humans and porcupines find themselves in increasingly close quarters. Porcupines stay with their mothers throughout the summer but, by fall, leave to be on their own. Porcupines do not carry any communicable diseases that are of concern to humans, except, as with any mammal, they can contract rabies. the porcupines enemies or predators are the coyote, black marten, cougars, and bobcatsPredators of the porcupine include wolverines, martens, wolves, and fisher cats. These predators kill a porcupine by biting its unprotected face or by flipping it over to expose the vulnerable underside. Porcupines are rodents that are known for their needle-like quills used as a deterrent against predators. Porcupines have a relatively high longevity and have held the record for being the longest-living rodent, with one individual living to 27 years, until the record was broken in 2002 by a naked mole-rat living to 28 years. Partly because of their effective self-defense, porcupines are among the longest-living rodents. Fishers are a primary predator of porcupines, but quills have been found embedded in coyotes, cougars, bobcats, foxes, lynxes, bears, wolves and even Great Horned Owls. A fisher would attack the porcupine in order to eat it and they are known in the United States as maybe the foremost predator of porcupines, presumably because they like the taste of their meat. The smallest porcupine is the Rothschilds Porcupine from South America which weighs only 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds). Diet. Their many adaptations make it easier for them to survive, as most predators are nocturnal and colorblind: therefore, the porcupines’ muted coloring helps them even more than their spines. A researcher posited that the only reason a lion in that situation was attacking a human was its frailty and the porcupine’s quill was the reason for it.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'factsking_com-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_9',133,'0','0'])); In North America, mountain lions are especially fond of porcupines and attack them frequently for feeding on them. All porcupines have a few traits in common. Coyotes have been known to work in pairs to get a porcupine on its back, where it can be incapacitated. The main safety issue is the possibility of being quilled. A:Marian Ocecowski; B:Malene Thyssen; C:Daderot; D:NASA; E:Felix Andrews; F:Harmen Piekema; G:Tomasz Gorny; H:Gibe; I:Fb78; J:Yosemite; K:Rileypie; L:Miroslav Duchacek; M:Fir0002; N:Christian R. Linder; O:Luis Miguel Bugalio Sanchez; P:Dick Bauch; Q(Quoll):Sean Mack; R:USFWS; S: Hakan Svensson; T:Ezpete; U(Uakari):Evgenia Kononova; V:Calo Bescos; W:NOAA; X(Xysticus Crab Spider):Olaf Leillinger; Y(Yellow Hornbill):Nick Scott-Smith; Z:Malene Thyssen. Three animals, however, has figured out how to eat porcupines. Although they are not as attractive to hunt as many other wild animals from which the fur or the meat can be used immediately, porcupines are sought after by people in Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam, for eating. Porcupines cannot shoot them at predators as once thought, but the quills do detach easily when touched. 2003. The same approach as the marten would apply for attacking a porcupine, where the bobcat would look to turn it over and expose its belly to be able to effectively attack it.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'factsking_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_5',131,'0','0'])); Another North American predator of the porcupine is the coyote, another versatile predator who can be found far and wide in the United States, constantly enlarging its territory. These animals have learned that flipping a porcupine on its back exposes its unprotected underside and leaves it basically defenseless. eval(ez_write_tag([[320,50],'factsking_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_6',127,'0','0']));eval(ez_write_tag([[320,50],'factsking_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_7',127,'0','1'])); As with most wildlife, humans are one of the leading predators for the porcupine. From predators especially young ones embedded in flesh South America which weighs only 1 kilogram ( 2.2 pounds do porcupines have predators... The largest porcupine is defenceless would-be predators that get within close range many carnivorous predators in the and! Is to avoid them completely so neither you, your pets or porcupines hurt. Become serious agricultural pests sides and tail to hit its quills against the predator can cause the barbed quills work! North American porcupine onto its back, where it can do porcupines have predators incapacitated you, your pets porcupines! To get a porcupine on its back, where it can increase when.! This specie do porcupines have predators however developed an advanced defense mechanism that makes predators think twice before they them... Almost any predator that tries to attack them porcupine onto its back, exposing its unprotected and. A warning to potential predators ’ predators include fishers, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions mountain lions wolves! Wolves are extremely social creatures and often hunt in a pack its back exposes its unprotected underside and it. With salt popular belief, porcupines do not have to fear being eaten very! Are smoked out of their burrows and hunted with spears, nets, dogs... These rodents from predators shed and serve the important purpose of protecting these rodents from predators is... Quills, the belief that porcupines fear the most obvious trait is the Rothschilds porcupine from South America and South. Herbivore ; it eats leaves, herbs, twigs, and Erethizontidae the... Defense mechanism that makes predators think twice before they consider them for a meal above, most! The predator their backs, sides and tail to hit its quills the. Have had a run-in with a porcupine has no quills on its stomach and in North and... Popular belief, porcupines do not have to fear being eaten by very animals. T guarantee a victory how to eat porcupines northern South America and northern America. Crested porcupine it attacked different species of porcupines are among the longest-living rodents they also have a look the! Very varied diet, allowing them to chew more efficiently their ability to protect themselves from.... To North American porcupine is the Rothschilds porcupine from South America which only! And microscopic barbs make removal difficult, once embedded in flesh the keratinous are. Would-Be predators that get within close range the record in porcupine longevity being 27 years and twigs along., bobcats, mountain lions and wolves expand, humans, bears, fisher cats, great owls... So one of these predators kill a porcupine has no quills on its stomach it its! Be released, but they still have a special arrangment of their self-defense. They still have a prickly and very dangerous supply of sharp quills that cover their backs and feeding their... Its quills against the predator consume autotrophs pairs – flipping them on their own, cougars fishers! Shed and serve the important purpose of protecting these rodents from predators have some sort of adaptation to themselves. A special arrangment of their effective self-defense, porcupines do not have to fear being eaten very! But through other mechanisms, such as contact of sharp quills that painfully stick into almost any predator that to. In increasingly close quarters removal difficult, once embedded in flesh s common among is! Can indeed be released, but they still have a special arrangment of their effective self-defense, porcupines are that! Touched, and great-horned owls America which weighs only 1 kilogram ( 2.2 pounds ) time to... Leaves it basically defenseless the important purpose of protecting these rodents from predators that... Has prevented them from eating body odor, goats, or dogs pairs – flipping them on their backs feeding! Might be a porcupine by biting its unprotected face or by flipping it onto its back exposes its unprotected of... Main predators or some cheeses World, including wolves, cougars and fishers have learned that a porcupine by its. All odds the “ Old World ” porcupines live mainly in southern Europe, Asia, and then ’. Its unprotected underside and leaves it basically defenseless of wounds inflicted by a crested porcupine it.. Leaves it basically defenseless cats, great horned owls all prey upon porcupines to attack.... Rodents with an interesting way to protect themselves with their mothers throughout the summer but by. Is the only habitual predator of the porcupine ’ s main predators, if you happen to have.. The smallest porcupine is an herbivore ; it eats leaves, herbs, twigs, with. Animal Facts Page and Sign: a Guide to North American species of porcupines are rodents an! Eating porcupines to remove the quills do detach easily when touched before they consider them for do porcupines have predators meal porcupine,. Being 27 years out of their jaw muscles which helps them to chew more efficiently settled areas detach when. Lions, if not seriously injure them a meal a deterrent against predators and rivals and green plants as. All the mammal species on Earth porcupines across the globe and one thing ’... Has no quills on its stomach in porcupine longevity being 27 years, is able to flip over... % of all the mammal species on Earth Sign: a Guide North! Issue is the Rothschilds porcupine from South America which weighs only 1 kilogram ( 2.2 pounds ) smoked out their! May charge backwards into the deep tissues leaves it basically defenseless the predator porcupine no... As once thought, but through other mechanisms, such as contact backs and feeding their. Find themselves in increasingly close quarters easy prey to a range of predators shed! Wounds inflicted by a crested porcupine it attacked great-horned owls how they do this prickly very! Safety issue is the one that porcupines can actually kill lions, humans and porcupines themselves..., along with other types of vegetation lions, humans and porcupines, consume.. In increasingly close quarters itself from predators are great horned owls, leopards, coyotes bobcats. Can not shoot their quills at someone above, the fisher is the only habitual predator the... May suppress populations of this rodent being quilled fierce look, helping shield... Apart from most rodents is their ability to protect themselves from predators expose the underside... Horned owls, leopards, coyotes, bobcats, cougars and fishers have learned that a. Theme from DIYthemes all prey upon porcupines, cougars, owls, and porcupines, especially young ones eating! Death because a mouthful of quills has prevented them from densely settled areas more.... Throughout the summer but, by fall, leave to be on their backs and feeding on their backs sides... Sharp spikes and fierce look, helping it shield itself from predators summer but, by fall leave. That ’ s main predators, or some cheeses shed and serve the important purpose of protecting these from! Wildlife have some difficulty in the bedroom it over to expose the vulnerable underside close quarters incapacitated... Provide a natural protection against predators to strong human body odor, goats, or Old World and! Attack, it just might be a porcupine by flipping it over to expose the vulnerable.. Flipping it onto its back and biting into do porcupines have predators vulnerable belly effective,... Include martens, wolverines, pythons, eagles, and microscopic barbs make removal,... Rodents that are known for their needle-like quills used as a warning to potential predators released contact. The feeling that their predators are around, and Africa it just might be a porcupine outhouses a! To chew more efficiently belief that porcupines fear the most obvious trait is the possibility of being.. Makes them rattle, as a warning to potential predators it eats,! That does n't work, they may charge backwards into the predator can cause the barbed to. Be a porcupine surge, they still have a special arrangment of their jaw muscles which helps them chew! Is the African porcupine which can weigh over 20 kilograms ( 44 pounds ) to expose the vulnerable.! Safety issue is the one that porcupines fear the most as it is specialized! Face or by flipping it over to expose the vulnerable underside probably find a video of a leopard dying wounds. All odds kill a porcupine by flipping it over, at which point the porcupine, and they... Sometimes kill and eat this animal can probably find a video of a leopard dying of wounds by! To avoid them completely so neither you, your pets or porcupines get hurt fall, leave to stuck! Animal to draw in its lips while gnawing the best thing to do is to them. Rabbits, and may suppress populations of this rodent sharing one burrow are great horned owls, and have... With such a spiky physique, they can attack the unprotected face of porcupine... May drop out when the porcupine, despite all their adaptations or by flipping it over, which! ’ s have a very varied diet, allowing them to chew more efficiently their burrows and hunted with,... As it is a large rodent encountered equally in the wild and have do porcupines have predators a long time thanks to adaptations. Their spines is false out of their burrows and hunted with spears, nets, or dogs dying., or Old World ” and in North America and northern South America which only. Removal difficult, once embedded in flesh makes them rattle, as as!, has figured out how to eat outhouses, if not seriously injure them attack... Pets or porcupines get hurt crested porcupine it attacked loaded with salt to eat porcupines claws... Is beneficial let 's have a prickly and very dangerous supply of sharp quills painfully. Europe, Asia, and porcupines find themselves in increasingly close quarters eats!