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North American porcupine
(Erethizon dorsatum)
walrus
Description
This large rodent is in the New World porcupine family. They are usually dark brown or black in color, with white highlights. They have a chunky body, a small face, short legs, and a short thick tail. Their upper parts are covered with thousands of sharp, barbed hollow spines or quills (actually modified hairs), which are used for defense. Porcupines do not throw their quills, but the quills detach easily and the barbs make them very difficult to remove once lodged in an attacker. The quills are normally flattened against the body unless the animal is disturbed.
Dimensions
Their head-and-body length is 2.0 to 3.0 ft, adding a tail of 5.7 to 12 inches. Their weight can range from 7.7 to 40 lb.
Diet
Porcupines are generalist herbivores, eat different species of trees.
Habitat & Range
They inhabit varied climates, and at varied elevations. Porcupines live in open tundra, deciduous forests, and desert chaparral. They inhabit much of North America between the Arctic Ocean and northern Mexico. Porcupines are found throughout most of Alaska and Canada.
Conservation status
THIS SPECIES IS LISTED AS LEAST CONCERN

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© 2014 Oswaldo Rosales
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