Creature Feature: North American Porcupine

Creature Feature: North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum).
 
Happy Mother’s Day from everyone at the NEC! Did you know that a mother-baby pair of Porcupines is called a Prickle? On their own, a female is called a sow, and a baby is called a porcupette.
 
North American Porcupines are fairly uncommon in Humboldt County, but they are still very much a part of the landscape. In the Wiyot language, they are known as “Humaqhulilh”. 
 

These prickly creatures are the second largest rodent in North America, after the beaver. There is a common misconception that porcupines can “shoot” their quills. While this is false, it’s still a good idea to keep your distance if you see one! Their 35,000 quills can detach easily.
Images: Flickr users Chiot’s Run, Smithonian’s National Zoo, and Marie Hale.
Sources: wildlifesciencecenter.org