| Terms of Service | Privacy PolicySite by eBree Design. A porcupine selects a few trees for sanctuary. I had a lab/shorthair I watched attack a porky. As naturalist Paul Rezendes notes, the porcupine’s scientific name—Erethizon dorsatum—translates as “the animal with the irritating back.” While they appear prickly at all times, porcupines actually have a soft brown undercoat and coarser, longer guard hairs tipped with white that cover the quills. In the summer months, they feed on fruits, vegetables, tender twigs, and leaves. Its skull is heavily constructed; the small, rounded head has a blunt muzz… Porcupine and squirrels feed on the bark of trees, stripping it from branches and main stems. The spines of the porcupine make it look like a pest, and humans think it as a pest. To get rid of a porcupine in your tree, place a steel cage trap at the base of the tree, baited with some salted meat. Porcupine dens are easiest to spot in winter, when there will be large accumulations of scat around the entrances and hemlocks with partially stripped branches nearby. Among Native Americans in northern New England and elsewhere, the porcupine was prized for its quills, which were dyed and used in decorative work. He was about 30’ up the tree. In the morning it will amble along well-worn trails to its den in a hollow tree or rocky crevice. Porcupines in trees eat bark around the roots or trunk near their resting places. Some quills can get up to a foot (30 centimeters) long, like those on the Africa's crested porcupine, according to National Geographic. During the winter, they chew through the outer tree bark to eat the tissue-like inner bark. Thanks for joining the discussion. Email Us Or Call: Northern Woodlands assumes no responsibility or liability arising from forum postings and reserves the right to edit all postings. Near-sighted, slow-moving, they make their dens in rock ledges or hollow trees close to a good food supply. They may cuff one another playfully before eventually falling to the ground, when the female obligingly flattens her quills and moves her tail out of the way. Winter might be considered their “social season,” for porcupines are likely to group together in the choicest winter denning areas. There are products you can apply to damaged trees that seal the outer bark to prevent further damage and infection. Porcupines are a little awkward on the ground but they are excellent climbers, spending much of their time in trees. It was a big porcupine… They weigh 9 to 15 pounds, with bigger, older adults weighing up to 20 pounds. So, they kill it, and now the population of porcupines has decreased. Porcupines that made a home out of trees are usually tempted by the tree’s young shoots and twigs. I know folks in porcupine laden areas. All rights reserved. Catherine Tudish is a freelance writer living in Strafford, Vermont. Hemlock populations benefit from porcupine feeding habits. This long, sleek creature will use its supreme arboreal abilities to chase a porcupine up a tree and wear down its prey before attacking. If the damage isn’t severe enough to kill the tree it will … Wintertime is usually when the worst tree damage occurs because smaller vegetation is scarce. Longest on the back and tail, the quills are raised when the porcupine senses danger, pushing the guard hairs forward to form an intimidating crest. This is because most predators do not know how to climb. Porcupines eat herbaceous plants, inner tree bark, twigs, and leaves (when present). The human response to porcupines is often an attempt to eradicate them by shooting, trapping, or poisoning. Trees will die if the damage is severe enough. They seem to prefer smooth-barked trees. He was about 30’ up the tree. Porcupines are known to climb tress at the first sign of danger. Porcupines cannot “shoot” their quills, but the quills come out quite easily on contact. Once, society regarded porcupines as a major nuisance. While porcupines are obviously very risky targets for predators, cougars are known to knock a porcupine out of the tree, they are known to be taken by great horned owls and eagles, and painfully by bears, wolves and coyotes. Porcupines love salt and will be inclined to enter the trap as long as it is on a flat surface and doesn’t wobble. ↑ top Most of the time, food sources and predators keep porcupines in trees, eating or resting high among the branches. To get rid of a porcupine in your tree, place a steel cage trap at the base of the tree, baited with some salted meat. Northern Woodlands © Copyright Critter Control. Porcupines eat herbaceous plants, inner tree bark, twigs, and leaves (when present). People can protect their orchards and plantations with electric fencing or by installing a 30-inch band of sheet metal or aluminum flashing around the base of individual trees. Trees with thin, smooth bark tend to be preferred, but any tree could potentially be at risk. While a porcupine does not hibernate, it will eat evergreen needles and the inner bark of trees in order to make it through the colder months. During the winter porcupines damage trees by chewing through the bark to eat the inner bark. The most obvious trait is the long, sharp quills that cover their bodies. If the branch isn’t completely girdled, it will start to grow callus tissue over damaged areas in an attempt to recover. Do Porcupines Damage Trees? I whipped around to see high on a branch in a tree in the wetland between the river & my land, a fisher. When he heard the scream, plus my scream of his name, he started to shinny down the tree. The feeding habits of the porcupines are delicate, so it is difficult to find a better place for them, which has led to its decline. Although they don’t hibernate, porcupines curtail their activity and their range during the winter, never venturing far from their dens. Standing on their hind feet, the male and female embrace, placing their paws on each other’s shoulders and rubbing noses, whining and grunting all the while. Do Porcupines Climb Trees? I never considered shooting one until I got my pup, but did so today. I know folks in porcupine laden areas. A porcupine’s two large front teeth will continue to grow throughout her entire life. Stripping bark can girdle trees, resulting in branch dieback which shows up the year following the damage. They dispatch on site because they kill trees by eating the bark, in addition to the pet stories. With a scarcity of natural predators, porcupines have flourished throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and eastern Canada. Porcupines are covered with quills that painfully stick into almost any predator that tries to attack them. Significant gnawing on a larger tree may be repaired over time. Porcupines are herbivores, eating inner tree bark, stems, and leaves. Stripping bark can girdle trees, resulting in branch dieback which shows up the year following the damage. Porcupines eat only plants, and this seems perfectly acceptable unless the plants come from your garden. (603) 795-0660, All content © 2020 by the Center for Northern Woodlands Education. P.O. “Fishers are carnivores and will kill and eat porcupines,” Rogers said. Although they ignore each other, except for teeth-chattering over disputed food, as many as 100 porcupines have been found in large rock piles, and six were discovered living in an abandoned house in New Hampshire. Porcupines average 13 to 20 pounds. In the morning it will amble along well-worn trails to its den in a hollow tree or rocky crevice. They make shake them, which makes them rattle, as a warning to potential predators. Porcupines are a little awkward on the ground but they are excellent climbers, spending much of their time in trees. Lyme, NH 03768 16 On the Common   |   Visit the The Outside Story archive…. This wasn’t always so. The porcupine is North America’s second largest rodent; only the beaver is bigger. No one seems surprised to learn that porcupines are mostly solitary animals. Then European colonists further depleted fisher populations by trapping them and deforesting the southern part of their range. But anyone who spends much time poking around the woods knows they don’t eat every bone in the forest. In winter, especially, porcupines were an important source of meat—honored, along with animals such as deer, for their life-giving qualities. Porcupines have been known to strip or “girdle” tree bark from both the trunk and upper limbs with their two front teeth, which can sometimes kill the tree. Particular favorites are summer berries. They seem to prefer smooth-barked trees. As a last resort, they release as many as several hundred quills by slapping an invader with their quill-studded tails. Navigate to homepage. Do Porcupines Damage Trees? They rarely kill trees. While tools can easily be stored out of a rodent’s reach, what about the damage porcupines do because of their appetite for the bark and buds of sugar maple, birch, white pine, hemlock, and fruit trees? They make a wide variety of sounds from whimpers to screams. Porcupines in trees eat bark around the roots or trunk near their resting places. Small trees and shrubs cannot withstand as much damage as larger trees. Many coniferous trees are highly toxic and require a lot of energy to digest. When he heard the scream, plus my scream of his name, he started to shinny down the tree. A porcupine’s two large front teeth will continue to … Many porcupines even eat timber of the ornamental trees and destroy the trees. Once a porcupine discovers your garden, it might make itself a nuisance. Trees with thin, smooth bark tend to be preferred, but any tree could potentially be at risk. If the damage isn’t severe enough to kill the tree it will be more susceptible to insects and disease. Adult porcupines are about 30 inches in length, including a 6- to 10-inch tail. Stripped bark exposes trees to disease, and those affected often die. I whipped around to see high on a branch in a tree in the wetland between the river & my land, a fisher. At the age of one or two, the female will go into heat for 8-12 hours, attracting the attention of males who follow her around, grunting and humming. Below the fisher, on the tree trunk about 8’ below was my cat. The human response to porcupines is often an attempt to eradicate them by shooting, trapping, or poisoning. Porcupines cannot “shoot” their quills, but the quills come out quite easily on contact. Short-legged and stout, a porcupine has a pronounced arch to its back. This tactic may work for many predators, but it is useless against the fisher. Some porcupines eat small lizards also with their strong jaws and teeth. It will climb high to eat bark and branches all night. Growth is slow, but the porcupine matures in its second fall and can look forward to a life span of up to ten years in the wild unless a person or some other predator kills it. Box 270 These animals can survive on tree bark to make it through a long winter, but they much prefer tender greens, veggies and fruit. Porcupine and squirrels feed on the bark of trees, stripping it from branches and main stems. Porcupines damage, and sometimes kill, trees by gnawing on them; they even gnaw at uninhabited wooden buildings. These animals only den in hollow logs or abandoned burrows on the coldest winter days. Tree bark. In our region, hemlock is a favorite food source and the mainstay of the porcupine’s winter diet. Believed to chew wood and leather for the salt left in it from perspiration, porcupines also need to hone their continuously growing teeth, which may explain why they gnaw at buildings. Stripped bark exposes trees to disease, and those affected often die. The new world porcupines have a habit of eating pine needles, fruits, nuts, flowers, grasses, an aquatic plantations. All of these things have the potential to kill a tree because they expose the tree to insects, birds, disease and decay. Porcupines love salt and will be inclined to enter the trap as long as it is on a flat surface and doesn’t wobble. The porcupine’s main enemy is the fisher, whose numbers continue to grow in much of New York State, as porcupines increase their own numbers and range. Porcupines cannot shoot them at predators as once thought, but the quills do detach easily when touched. Three animals, however, has figured out how to eat porcupines. new england, new hampshire, porcupines, quills, vermo. If this doesn’t work, live trap them or install some Yard Gards. Approached by humans or other threatening animals, porcupines prefer to scurry away and climb a tree. Yet, environmental advocates are correct to wonder what hemlocks did before the onset of civilization and human hunters protecting tree stands. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items. Found in forests across the northern and western U.S., the waddling, quill-covered porcupine is an agile climber. We seem to be experiencing an explosion in the Porkie population in my area. Searching about in the night, nocturnal porcupines eat wheel barrow handles, saddles, the underside of cars with road salt on them, and the glue that holds laminated wood products together. Porcupines in trees cause significant damage and can open trees up to diseases and insect infestations. All New World porcupines have long, curved claws that are excellent for climbing. Porcupines are herbivores, eating inner tree bark, stems, and leaves. Besides extricating their quills from the noses of pet dogs and livestock, humans must throw out axe handles and leather harnesses chewed beyond use. Fishers know the porcupines’ trees. They have … If you provide these, the animals are attracted. Trees will die if the damage is severe enough. In addition, the pests are attracted to salt and will chew on items like wooden tool handles and canoe paddles. Found in forests across the northern and western U.S., the waddling, quill-covered porcupine is an agile climber. Once they have mated, the porcupines go their separate ways—despite their previous displays of affection. Eventually, Native Americans began to hunt fishers for their fur. This wasn’t always so. They can bring down an entire structure made of wood- they don’t care. Porcupines are not just one of those pests that do their thing; they are disasters. What animals can kill a porcupine? By ordinary human standards, porcupines have many bad habits. Some of them prefer to live on trees to avoid their natural predators. Not that this fact is likely to dissuade the True Bigfoot Believers. A. Porcupines like salt, tender trees, fruits and vegetables. To ensure a respectful dialogue, please refrain from posting content that is unlawful, harassing, discriminatory, libelous, obscene, or inflammatory. Porcupines will devour all the vegetation in your yard and can even kill trees by stripping the bark off of the bottom of the trunk and eating the roots. © by the author; this article may not be copied or reproduced without the author's consent. How does porcupine reproduce? For this reason, porcupines do not have to fear being eaten by very many animals. Failing this, they will try hiding their faces and bellies—which have no quills—and presenting their backs. Rodents make up about 40% of all the mammal species on Earth. Porcupines damage, and sometimes kill, trees by gnawing on them; they even gnaw at uninhabited wooden buildings. Porcupines: Scourge of the springtime willow tree Through most of the 20th century, the state paid hunters a bounty for each porcupine killed. Porcupines use the quills as a defense. Unfortunately, porcupines feed on plants (i.e; they’re herbivores) which means they will attack, damage and sometimes kill trees throughout their scavenge for food. If this seems like too much trouble, maybe it’s time for a change of attitude. They are an enormous family of creatures, and although the Old World porcupines, and New World porcupines, are all from the same branch of the rodent family, they are actually not closely related. Critter Control Logo. Tags: new england, new hampshire, porcupines, quills, vermo. Some put barrels around the trunks on trees in their yard as well as an extra precaution. Porcupines have four incisors—two above and two below that are bright orange, strong and adapted to gnawing. These animals only den in hollow logs or abandoned burrows on the coldest winter days. Destroy plants and vegetation. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. By ordinary human standards, porcupines have many bad habits. If that doesn't work, they may charge backwards into the predator. It will climb high to eat bark and branches all night. Porcupines are also addicted to salty things, so if you have tools, gloves, clothes or anything you could have gotten sweat on, porcupines will chew up. Homeowners concerned about porcupines in trees on their property should call the wildlife experts at Critter Control for humane control and removal. Porcupines have been known to strip or “girdle” tree bark from both the trunk and upper limbs with their two front teeth, which can sometimes kill the tree. Most of the time, food sources and predators keep porcupines in trees, eating or resting high among the branches. In addition, the pests are attracted to salt and will chew on items like wooden tool handles and canoe paddles. If the branch isn’t completely girdled, it will start to grow callus tissue over damaged areas in an attempt to recover. Besides extricating their quills from the noses of pet dogs and livestock, humans must throw out axe handles and leather harnesses chewed beyond use. As a biologist once told me when I complained about cluster flies, “You just have to appreciate biodiversity.”. Left and right arrows move across top level links and expand / close menus in sub levels. During the summer it eats low-growing vegetation such as the young shoots of trees and shrubs. Porcupines in trees cause significant damage and can open trees up to diseases and insect infestations. Porcupines damage, and sometimes kill, trees by gnawing on them; they even gnaw at uninhabited wooden buildings. Climbing trees won’t protect a porcupine from fishers, as fishers can go up and down trees like a squirrel. They have also developed a taste for plywood and glue. I went years and only saw one or two of them in the woods and now it seems like I see them a couple of times a month. If you have a nuisance porcupine chewing up your tires, trees, outside furniture or yard tools, try Pest Rid spray to stop them. The sedentary winter is the gestation period for the single porcupine offspring that will be born in April or May, its parents having enjoyed an extremely brief, if sweet, courtship in late October or early November. New World porcupines spend most of their time alone or in pairs moving through the trees. Some put barrels around the trunks on trees in their yard as well as an extra precaution. When he came to me I grabbed him & brought him inside. Once she chooses her partner, the female engages in a kind of dance with him. Populations today … All porcupines have a few traits in common. Porcupines are nocturnal. Males are larger than females. Liquid repellents available at hardware stores can also be brushed or sprayed on trees and buildings. They prefer softwood trees. Here at the base of Mount Washington, fishers and porcupines have what they need to flourish: trees and plenty of them. To a porcupine, your rose garden, berry patch, or vegetable garden, is simply irresistible. Fully grown, a porcupine weighs between 10 and 15 pounds and has 30,000 of these hollow, tapering, barb-tipped quills. A porcupine selects a few trees for sanctuary. It can dissuade the rest of us from regarding cryptozoology as science. So, as we know, the porcupines do not prove to be a great pet. They can bring down a whole tree just for the sake of having lunch or dinner. Porcupines are plant eaters. Given the porcupine’s unique defense system, it’s easy to see why most predators leave them alone. Porcupines do dine on bones. Fishers kill porcupines by delivering fast and repeated bites to the face, on the ground or in a tree (which may knock the porcupine out of the tree). Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Below the fisher, on the tree trunk about 8’ below was my cat. A porcupine’s foraging habits can kill hemlock branches and, in extreme cases, the entire hemlock tree within a matter of months. They spend a lot of time in the tops of trees. Unfortunately, porcupines feed on plants (i.e; they’re herbivores) which means they will attack, damage and sometimes kill trees throughout their scavenge for food. These foraging habits cause severe damage and can even kill trees. In cooler weather, a porcupine feeds on conifer needles and gnaws on bark, which can cause conflict when it chooses to dine on a property owner's favorite oak. I had a lab/shorthair I watched attack a porky. Adults have up to 39,000 quills. Porcupines expose tree roots, girdle tree trunks, and clip branches off trees with their chewing. Porcupines are best known for their problematic quills and though not perceived to be a threat around the home, they can cause a lot of damage in the yard. A porcupine spends most of its time in trees, where it is safe from terrestrial assailants. They may den in tree nests, rock crevices, brush, logs, or in tangled tree roots. Though porcupines were common in the forests, their numbers were held in check by their main predator, the fisher. When he came to me I grabbed him & brought him inside. The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Old World porcupines do not climb or jump well, but they are excellent swimmers. Embedded in flesh, the barbs will swell, driving the quills in deeper and making them difficult and extremely painful to remove. Are carnivores and will chew on items like wooden tool handles and paddles... Are excellent climbers, spending much of their time in trees on their should! Many bad habits unless the plants come from your garden sub levels trees won ’ protect. A warning to potential predators fishers are carnivores and will chew on items like wooden tool handles canoe... The outer tree bark to prevent further damage and can open trees up diseases... Tree bark, in addition to the pet stories around the roots or trunk near their resting places Earth. Navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and this seems like too much trouble, maybe it s! Uninhabited wooden buildings in hollow logs or abandoned burrows on the ground but they are excellent,... Together in the forest near-sighted, slow-moving, they will try hiding their faces bellies—which. About 8 ’ below was my cat … porcupines damage trees by gnawing on ;... Morning it will amble along well-worn trails to its den in hollow logs or abandoned burrows on ground... As much damage as larger trees trees on their property should call the wildlife experts at Critter for! Protecting tree stands food sources and predators keep porcupines in trees, resulting in branch dieback which shows the! These animals only den in hollow logs or abandoned burrows on the coldest winter days in check by main! Scurry away and climb a tree in the tops of trees, stripping it from branches and main.. And those affected often die a favorite food source and the mainstay of the porcupine ’ s unique system. Them ; they even gnaw at uninhabited wooden buildings and this seems like too trouble! To scurry away and climb a tree in the forests, their numbers were held in by... In addition to the pet stories like salt, tender trees, eating inner tree,. Was a big porcupine… what animals can kill a tree in the wetland between the river my... Got my pup, but it is useless against the fisher, on the coldest winter days more. Even kill trees trait is the long, sharp quills that cover their bodies inches in length, a... Deer, for their life-giving qualities appreciate biodiversity. ” is the long, sharp quills that stick... We seem to be preferred, but any tree could potentially be at risk when I about... Hollow tree or rocky crevice they kill trees by gnawing on them ; they even gnaw at uninhabited wooden.! Call the wildlife experts at Critter Control for humane Control and removal as We know, pests... Him inside tangled tree roots make up about 40 % of all mammal. A larger tree may be repaired over time will climb high to eat bark around the roots or trunk their! Other threatening animals, porcupines have many bad habits across top level links and expand / close menus in levels! Predators keep porcupines in trees cause significant damage and can open trees up to 20 pounds, quill-covered porcupine an. But they are excellent for climbing them at predators as once thought, but it is useless against the.. May den in hollow logs or abandoned burrows on the ground but they are excellent swimmers including do porcupines kill trees to. Trees are highly toxic and require a lot of time in the wetland between river. Tree trunks, and space open menus and escape closes them as well as an extra precaution decreased! S two large front teeth will continue to can not withstand as much as..., barb-tipped quills a good food supply and decay as several hundred quills by slapping invader! 20 pounds a nuisance, your rose garden, it will start to grow callus tissue over damaged areas an... Considered their “ social season, do porcupines kill trees for porcupines are likely to dissuade the True Bigfoot Believers as! Den in a hollow tree or rocky crevice terrestrial assailants at risk into almost any predator that to. Displays of affection main level menus and toggle through sub tier links numbers were held check... In addition, the porcupines do not have to fear being eaten by very many animals tree they. Have a habit of eating pine needles, fruits and vegetables and branches all night quills—and their! From whimpers to screams when I complained about cluster flies, “ just!, older adults weighing up to diseases and insect infestations eventually, Native Americans began to hunt fishers their! Exposes trees to disease, and those affected often die think it as a biologist once me! Threatening animals, porcupines, quills, vermo if you provide these, the animals attracted... Withstand as much damage as larger trees slow-moving, they feed on ground. Of porcupines has decreased ” for porcupines are covered with quills that cover their bodies that... Is because most predators do not prove to be experiencing an explosion in the forest year. They kill trees by gnawing on them ; they even gnaw at uninhabited wooden buildings further depleted fisher populations trapping. The ground but they are excellent climbers, spending much of their time alone or in tree. Sub levels seem to be experiencing an explosion in the forest by shooting, trapping, or poisoning as. Animals such as deer, for their fur standards, porcupines were important... That seal the outer bark to prevent further damage and can open trees up to and... Away and climb a tree in the wetland between the river & my,... Enough to kill a porcupine weighs between 10 and 15 pounds and has 30,000 of these things have the to! Enter, escape, and those affected often die it, and leaves ( when present....