What Eats A Porcupine
Most people have heard of a porcupine. They might not know everything there is to know about the animal itself, but when most people hear the term porcupine, they are going to form some kind of mental image that will be close to that of the real animal.
And, this is because the porcupine is best known for its sharp spikes and fierce look. Just about everyone knows that the porcupine is a crate that has sharp spikes that it utilizes to shield itself against predators.
Despite this, at the end of the day, the porcupine is nothing more than a large rodent. It is equally encountered in North American and northern South America. Some have been spotted in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
All in all, it is the quills or large, sharp spines that set the porcupine apart from other rodents. It is due to this unique feature that the porcupine can defend itself against predators.
And, this is a good thing too because the porcupine is a creature with a lot of natural predators, who’ll hunt them against all odds. And, some of these predators can be vicious as well.
Just like most wildlife, it is the human that poses one of the biggest threats to the porcupine. Although in the United States, most people do not hunt the porcupine for its meat or coat, the creature is highly sought after in Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam.
In this area, people do eat the meat. In fact, people are consuming the meat so much that there is now a known declining porcupine population in the area. A lot of Native Americans are using the quills for clothing and headdresses, so this is hurting the population as well.
North American Marten
The North American Marten, also known as the fisher, is a fierce predator for most creatures, but they are especially dangerous to the porcupine. This is because the fisher is extremely smart.
They know exactly where to attack and how to attack. They’ll attack the unprotected face of the porcupine, and if they can’t get to the face, they’ll do whatever they can to flip the animal over.
When on its back, the porcupine will be completely defenseless. Another thing is the fisher usually attacks for nutritional purposes. The fisher doesn’t just hunt the porcupine for sport, he hunts it for survival purposes, which makes him all that more dangerous.
Fishers are also adequately designed to attack the porcupine, despite what many might believe. Give its smaller size, most people wouldn’t think that the fisher would pose a big threat to the porcupine, but it is the creature’s size that makes it go for the face rather than the back. Most larger creatures immediately go for the back, where they immediately encounter the quills.
The bobcat falls into the lynx family and is also a fierce creature that poses a major threat to a lot of animals in the animal kingdom. Unfortunately, the porcupine falls into this category as well.
Despite that the bobcat lives predominantly in woodlands and semi-deserts, it is a very adaptive animal. They are also adept at hunting because they are always honing their skills chasing after rabbits, hares, chickens, deer, small birds, and other small rodents.
The bobcat is also smart enough to use the same technique as the Marten. Although it won’t necessarily go for the face, it will flip the creature over and attack the exposed belly.
Wolves pose a major threat to a lot of animals. And, one of the reasons for this is their socialization. Wolves are extremely social and rarely ever travel alone. They travel in packs and this is just one of the many things that make them dangerous to bears as well as the porcupine.
Combine this with the wolf’s natural wit and it is easy to see how they have developed strategies to avoid the defenses of the porcupine’s quills.
[Related Articles:What Eats A Wolf]
Great Horned Owls
There really are a number of reasons that the great horned owl poses such a threat to the porcupine population. The first being its intelligence. The great horned owl is said to be extremely smart.
Combine this with its natural dexterity, and they won’t have a problem attacking the porcupine where it is at its weakest. Another thing to note is that the great horned owl is one of the few creatures out there that will hunt and eat the skunk.
Why is this important? It means that the owl will not be put off by the appearance of the porcupine.
While porcupines have sharp needles all over their body, coyotes will still utilize them as prey. The coyote originates throughout North America, preying on small ground creatures, such as the bird, snakes, rabbits, squirrels, muskrats, cats, dogs, and gophers.
The porcupine is not a favorite food of the coyote but when it is the only option, the coyote will not turn away. Instead of attacking them from the side or rear, the coyote approaches the porcupine head-on. This helps to avoid getting pricked by the porcupine’s sharp quills.
Cougars are fast, fierce felines that prey on a broad range of animals like the deer, moose, elk, mountain goat, rabbit, squirrel, and wild hare. The cougar approaches the porcupine pretty much in the same manner as the coyote. The animal’s goal is to avoid the porcupine’s sharp quills.
Unlike humans, cougars and other wild animals do not have hands or fingers. So, they face more struggles when it comes to removing porcupine quills. In fact, many of the porcupine’s wild animal victims will not survive their attacks.
If the quills are not removed properly and quickly, the victim’s infection risk increases drastically.
Lions are not partial to eating porcupines. But, in extreme situations, they will not turn away. The lion prefers other wild animals – boar, deer, antelope, and zebra – to the porcupine. So, when these animals are not available, they will choose the porcupine over not eating any day of the week.
Given that the porcupine has so many natural predators, one wouldn’t think that it is actually one of the longest-living rodents in the world. This has to do with the natural wit and effective self-defense mechanisms of the porcupine.
Although there are a lot of creatures that have learned how to topple these defenses, the porcupine continues to adapt and find unique ways to protect itself. The porcupine is also capable of seeing colors, which perhaps helps it more than its quills.
This probably explains why they are capable of living for as long as 27 years.
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