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North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
Mammals Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)

General: North American Porcupines (Erethizon dorsata) are large rodents with long, stiff quills (with which they defend themselves) over most of the body. Porcupines are tan to gray with shaggy hair and grow to 2-3 feet long (about 20 pounds).

Taxonomy: Class: Mammalia, Order: Rodentia, Family: Erethizontidae.

Preferred Habitat: Porcupines prefer coniferous and mixed forests across most of Alaska, Canada, and the western US, extending as far south as northern Mexico (just across the border from Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas). In our arid area, porcupines tend to occur in high-elevation forests near springs.

North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)

Where to Find: Around Las Vegas, porcupines are rare in forested areas on steep slopes over 10,000 ft on Mt. Charleston and in the Sheep Range. It would be more productive to look for porcupines in Zion National Park, on trips to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, or in the mountains of central and northern Nevada.

Diet: During summer, porcupines eat a variety of foods, but primarily forbs and tree parts (roots, twigs, buds, leaves, fruits). During winter, when forbs and fruits are not available, porcupines chew the bark off of trees to reveal the vascular cambium (the vascular tissue of plants) layer underneath. Eating the nutritious cambium, porcupines leave trees with bare patches and tooth marks on the remaining wood, much to the annoyance of tree farmers.

North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata) North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata) North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
Live animals show - Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
Live animals show - Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
Live animals show - Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
Live animals show - Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
Live animals show - Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
Live animals show - Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
Porcupine chew mark on bristlecone pine at 10,500 ft elevation
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
Porcupine chew mark on bristlecone pine at 10,500 ft elevation
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata) North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata) North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata) North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata) North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata) North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata) North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata) North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata) North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata) North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata) North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)
North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata) North American Porcupine (Erethizon dorsata)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 140904

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