This week, we focus on the second largest rodent in North America: The Porcupine!
Scientifically known as Erethizon dorsatum, porcupines are very common in the Greater Yellowstone area. However, they are not often seen because they are nocturnal and tend to make their homes up in trees around the region.
They are herbivores and tend to eat bark, leaves, twigs and other vegetation. Since Porcupines are very good climbers, it is easy for them to access this type of food. They are, on the other hand, very slow and clumsy on the ground, making them very vulnerable to predators like mountain lions and great horned owls.
Contrary to popular belief, Porcupines don’t have the ability to throw their quills when they feel threatened. In reality, an adult porcupine has around 30,000 quills, and these quills will not detach from its body unless they make contact with a person or predator.