Porcupine - The Purcupines of British Columbia, Canada. Porcupines in BC


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide


Porcupines
Erethizon dorsatum


Description - The porcupine is a robust rodent that usually weighs around 22 pounds. Its blunt-nosed face has small eyes, and small, round ears. The legs are powerful with long curved claws making it slow-footed and strong. The front half of the porcupine's body is covered in long guard hairs which are a yellowish colour in the west and black or brown in the east. The rump and tail are covered in over 30,000 quills which are 1-2.5 inches in length and set with tiny, scalelike barbs.

Distribution - The porcupine occupies most of Canada and all of British Columbia in coniferous forests in the subalpine zone.

Biology - Mating habits of the porcupine are rather bizarre; the male approaches the female with embraces and nose-rubbing, if receptive, she allows him to spray her with gouts of urine. When fully soaked copulation occurs and 210 days later one offspring is born, sighted, mobile and covered in hair and quills. The porcupine feeds on leaves, twigs and green plants and has a ravenous appetite for salt (it will chew on any salt stained tools or clothes it comes across) and also it relishes plywood because of the glue between the layers. Predators of the porcupine include the fisher (mainly), the mountain lion, bobcat, and the coyote.

Porcupine Tracks
Tracks - The tracks of the porcupine are easily distinguished with pigeon-toed prints and a trough formed by the dragging of their feet between. The tail quills leave a pattern on the ground between these prints which closely resemble the marks of a corn broom on dirt. An oval shaped print with marks ahead from the long claws is characteristic.

Straddle: 18 - 25 cm (7.2 - 10 in)
Stride: 12 - 16 cm (4.8 - 6.4 in)
Track: Front - 6 cm (2.4 in) long / 4 cm (1.6 in) wide
Track: Rear - 10 cm (4 in) long / 4 cm (1.6 in) wide


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Porcupine - The Purcupines of British Columbia, Canada. Porcupines in BC