Lake Superior Zoo, Duluth, Minnesota

Home    /    Volunteer    /    Employment    /    Contact Us    /    Map

Animals - Barnyard

Porcupine - Ahki & Spike
Erethizon dorsatum
Range: Through North America from Alaska to Newfoundland and south to New Mexico and Tennessee.
Habitat: Forest with mixed hardwood and softwood trees.
Diet: Winter; evergreen needles, inner bark of trees.  Summer; buds, twigs, roots, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, and berries.  At the zoo: fruit, vegetables, monkey biscuits, and bark.
Fun Facts:
  • The porcupine is a slow, sure climber with excellent balance. It also swims well.
  • It is active all year, but remains in its den during severe weather.
  • The porcupine may protect itself by climbing or fleeing, but if cornered it erects the quills, turns the rump toward the source of danger, and rapidly lashes out with the barbed tail. The quills are not thrown or shot, but they are so lightly attached that when they enter the skin of an enemy, they become detached from the porcupine.
  • A few hours after birth, the young can climb trees and feed on solid food.
  • The life span is about 10 years.

<< Back to Barnyard