porcupine

5 Spiky Porcupine Facts for Kids

Porcupines are interesting critters to study. Their distinctive coat of sharp quills makes them easily identifiable to anyone who spots one sneakily slinking past them at night. For curious kids who want to learn more about the behaviors, habitats, predators, and defense mechanisms of these strange rodents, here are some facts to share.

porcupine

Surprising Facts About Porcupines 

Reading kids books about porcupines is a fantastic way to learn all bout these elusive animals. The stories weave all kinds of fascinating information about their behavior, diet, and habit throughout tales of fiction. Make sure to add some non-fiction title as well, as these books are chock full of valuable facts for kids who love learning about animals.

(1) Porcupines can survive in a wide variety of habitats.

Found in a wide spectrum of terrains, including forests, mountains, deserts, rainforests, and grasslands, porcupines manage to adapt pretty easily. They prefer to make their dense in hidden areas like rock crevices, tangled tree branches, dense brush, or hollowed logs. 

(2) Porcupines are herbivores.

These clever creatures have been known to chew on bones to sharpen their teeth and for certain healthy minerals like salt and calcium. However, they get all of their nourishment from consuming vegetation, bark, stems, and wood. For a little treat, some porcupines will snack on bugs and lizards.

(3) Quills are their primary form of defense.

Sharp daggers cover the bodies of porcupines, and in some cases can grow up to a foot long. The quills are loosely attached to their bodies, but cannot shoot them at predators. When sensing danger, porcupines shake their bodies which causes the quills to rattle. If this tactic does not work, the porcupine will charge backwards toward the threat to chase it away. Although the quills have barbs that make them difficult to detach, sometimes they do fall off. Fortunately, porcupines can grow new ones in their place.

(4) Porcupettes are baby porcupines.

The gestation period spans from 16 to 31 weeks depending on the species, and mothers will deliver anywhere from one to three babies at a time. The quills are soft at birth and become hard during the maturation period, which can last from 9 months to 2.5 years. 

(5) Porcupines have a lot of strategies to fend off predators.

It's a good thing that porcupines have a lot of tricks up their sleeves to deter predators, or the life expectancy would be much shorter than the average of 18 years. Slow, clumsy moving bodies low to the ground would seemingly make them easy prey. Many times the site of white-tipped quills is enough to send hungry predators off to find another victim. They also have well-designed claws perfect for climbing trees, yet another escape tactic. Clattering their teeth is also effective at deterring threats in the wild. And when all else fails, they employ their main weapon, a sophisticated system of sharp quills. First a nasty scent is released, and then they drive the quills into the enemy. A highly evolved release system allows the porcupine to separate from the quills that are embedded in the predator. Fortunately, just like hair, porcupines will regrow quills for the next time.

 

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