The porcupine is a large, spiny rodent that can be found in the Americas, southern Asia, and Africa. They are well known for their coat of sharp spines or quills. They are the third largest rodent on the earth after the capybara and the beaver. Porcupines can be brown, black or, in unusual cases, white. They can grow to a maximum length of 25–36 inches (63–91 cm) long, with a 8–10 in (20–25 cm) long tail. Most porcupines weigh between 12 and 36 pounds (5.4–16 kg). They are slow and cumbersome, thus their need for a defense mechanism such as their quills. Porcupines tend to live alone and are quite shy and non-aggressive. They are excellent tree climbers and spend much of their time in the trees rather than on the ground.
The Diet of the Porcupine
The porcupine is a herbivore meaning that they only eat plant matter. It eats a variety of plants, leaves, twigs and herbs. It prefers green plants such as skunk cabbages and clover. In the winter when food is scarce the porcupine will also eat bark. Porcupines often climb trees to find food such as leaves and berries. Porcupines need natural slat in their diet and often get this from plants such as yellow water lilies and aquatic liverwort. They may also consume mud and tree bark. In search of salt, porcupines have also been found to eat tool handles, doors, tables, footwear, clothes and other items that have been coated in salty sweat. They are also attracted to roads during winter in areas where rock salt is used to melt the snow and have been known to chew on tires and snow chains to get the salt off. ?