Massachusetts Porcupine

Identification

Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum), sometimes called “porkies” or “quill pigs,” are heavy-bodied, short-legged, slow, and awkward rodents, with a waddling gait. Adults are typically 25 to 30 inches (64 to 76 cm) long and weigh 10 to 30 pounds (4.5 to 13.5 kg). They rely on their sharp, barbed quills (up to 30,000 per individual) for defense.

 

Range and Habitat

The porcupine is a common resident of the coniferous forests of western and northern North America. It wanders widely and is found from cottonwood stands along prairie river bottoms and deserts to alpine tundra. They favor caves, rock slides, and thick timber downfalls for shelter.

 

Fun Facts

Young porcupines are capable of eating vegetation within a week after birth, but they generally stay with the female through the summer. Juvenile survival rates are high.

Predators of porcupines include coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, black bears, fishers, martens, great horned owls, and others.

 

Damage Prevention and Control Methods

Exclusion
Fences (small areas). Tree trunk guards.

Cultural Methods
Encourage closed-canopy forest stands.

Repellants
None are registered. Some wood preservatives may incidentally repel porcupines.

Toxicants
None are registered.

Fumigants

None are registered.

Trapping
Steel leghold trap (No. 2 or 3). Body-gripping (Conibear®) trap (No. 220 or 330). Box trap.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The above information was adapted from PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF WILDLIFE DAMAGE with permission of the editors, Scott E. Hygnstrom, Robert M. Timm, and Gary E. Larson (Cooperative Extension Division, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources University of Nebraska-Lincoln, United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Damage Control, Great Plains Agricultural Council Wildlife Committee).

Our local Massachusetts offices offer Porcupine services in the following cities: Acton, Adams, Arlington, Ashburnham, Ashby, Ashland, Attleboro, Auburn, Ayer, Barnstable, Bass River, Becket, Bedford, Belmont, Berlin, Beverly, Blackstone, Bolton, Boston, Bourne, Boxborough, Boylston, Brewster, Brookfield, Brookline, Burlington, Buzzards Bay, Cambridge, Carlisle, Centerville, Charlemont, Charlton, Chatham, Chatham Port, Chelsea, Clinton, Concord, Cotuit, Craigville, Cummaquid, Dalton, Danvers, Dennis, Dennis Port, Dorchester, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, East Dennis, East Falmouth, East Harwich, East Longmeadow, East Orleans, East Sandwich, Eastham, Everett, Fall River, Falmouth, Feeding Hills, Fitchburg, Forestdale, Framingham, Gardner, Gill, Gloucester, Grafton, Groton, Hadley, Harvard, Harwich, Harwich Port, Holden, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Hubbardston, Hudson, Hyannis, Indian Orchard, Jamaica Plain, Lake Pleasant, Lancaster, Leicester, Leominster, Leominster, Lexington, Lincoln, Littleton, Lowell, Lunenburg, Lynn, Lynnfield, Magnolia, Malden, Manchester By The Sea, Marblehead, Marlborough, Marstons Mills, Mashpee, Mashpee Neck, Maynard, Medford, Melrose, Mendon, Middlefield, Middleton, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Monomoscoy Island, Monument Beach, Natick, Needham, New Salem, Newton, North Brookfield, North Chatham, North Dennis, North Eastham, North Falmouth, North Harwich, North Reading, North Truro, Northboro, Northborough, Northbridge, Oakham, Orange, Orleans, Osterville, Oxford, Palmer, Paxton, Peabody, Pepperell, Pleasant Lake, Plymouth, Pocasset, Popponesset, Popponesset Island, Princeton, Provincetown, Reading, Revere, Richmond, Roslindale, Roxbury, Rutland, Sagamore, Sandisfield, Sandwich, Saugus, Seabrook, Seconsett Island, Seekonk, Sherborn, Shirley, Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury, Somerville, South, South Brewster, South Chatham, South Dennis, South Harwich, South Wellfleet, South Yarmouth, Southborough, Southbridge, Spencer, Spencer, Sterling, Stoneham, Stow, Sturbridge, Sudbury, Sutton, Swampscott, Taunton, Teaticket, Throndike, Townsend, Truro, Upton, Uxbridge, Wakefield, Wales, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Webster, Wellesley, Wellfleet, West Barnstable, West Boylston, West Chatham, West Dennis, West Falmouth, West Harwich, West Hyannisport, West Roxbury, West Yarmouth, Westborough, Westford, Westminster, Weston, Wilmington, Winchester, Woburn, Wood End, Woods Hole, Worcester, Yarmouth, Yarmouth Port

Eco-Wise Pest Control



Massachusetts Wildlife Services

Get them out. Keep them out. 877-950-2473. Free estimate
1-877-950-2473. Critter Control. Free estimate

For your local Wildlife Control Expert, call 1-800-CRITTER.