The word porcupine means thorny or quill pigs, but don’t let this confuse you. They are not pigs, but rodents.Porcupines are the third largest rodent in the world.There are several species of porcupines. Some species are excellent swimmers, while others are great climbers. Regardless of species though, all porcupines shuffle on the ground.Porcupines have poor eyesight, but they make up for it with their great sense of smell.Porcupines communicate with one another by screeching, whining, and grunting.Porcupines are famous for the quills that grow on their body. There are at least 30,000 of them. Porcupine quills usually lay flat against their bodies. However, if an enemy approaches, their quills will stand on end. Porcupines will also release type of smell to warn predators to stay away. Some people believe that porcupines shoot their quills as self-defense. That is false. The truth is that they slap their tails and push the quills into their enemy’s skin.Small hooks and scales cover the tip of each quill. That’s why when you get poked by one it’s very difficult to remove. So be careful.A chemical similar to medicine also covers the tip of a porcupine quill. So if you ever get poked by one, at least you won’t have to worry about getting an infection. A porcupine’s main enemy is the fisher, along with other predators such as wolves, owls, coyotes, and cougars.Porcupines easily lose their quills during fights, but they can be replaced with new ones. Porcupines are nocturnal creatures. That means they are awake during the night and asleep during the day.Porcupines are herbivores. That means they only eat plants. Their meals are usually tree barks, twigs, berries, and grass.Aside from plants, porcupine’s favorite food is anything that has a salty flavor.Porcupines can be solitary creatures or live with a group.A porcupine’s home is called a den. They can usually be found in hollow logs, rock piles, or caves. When two male porcupines are attracted to the same female, they will often fight each other. Whoever wins gets the girl. Female porcupines give birth to one or two babies. The parents raise the babies together. After a few months, the young porcupine will leave its parent to live on its own.A baby porcupine is called a porcupette. They are born with soft quills, which will harden after a few days.Porcupines can live up to 7 years in the wild. In captivity, it can be as long as 18 years.In the past, porcupine quills were used as decorations in clothes and furniture.