North American Porcupine

Posted on in Recent Sightings by Hawk Mountain

North American Porcupine Sleeping in a Tree

Hawk Mountain Staff spotted this sleepy North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) nestled up in a tree while conducting habitat surveys in the forest. Porcupines are surprisingly common around the Sanctuary but rarely seen due to their nocturnal behavior. Their quills are actually specialized hairs made of hardened keratin. Contrary to popular belief, porcupines cannot shoot their quills when threatened, but are able to defend themselves by swinging their tail at an aggressor. The quills detach easily and become imbedded due to microscopic barbs that make them difficult to remove. But don’t worry! Porcupines are not aggressive animals and will generally avoid humans (and your pets) if they are left alone. 

Photo by Becca McCabe.