Do People Eat Porcupines? (Can You Even Eat Them??)

An animal that has 30,000 quills on its body is not exactly your go-to meal is it?

Do people eat porcupines? When you picture a porcupine, you don’t exactly think of it as a tasty food source, and porcupine is definitely not a common food, but it is edible and people do eat it. They are fairly easy to find and catch and can be easily killed with a club or a stick, and from some reports, the heart will still be beating after you remove it.

Porcupines might seem big, but they’re mostly quills and bones and from a 40-pound porcupine you might end up with only 3 pounds of meat. The meat itself tastes like pork to some, and chicken to others.

Porcupines are seldom eaten in the West but are very popular in Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, where the prominent use of them as a food source has contributed to significant declines in their populations.

Porcupines are also sort of an emergency food in some parts of the world, especially Canada.


Table of Contents

What Are Porcupine Dates?

There is no part of an animal that people won’t eat and porcupine “dates” are one of them. Porcupine “dates” are small masses of undigested plant material in their digestive system known as bezoars. It’s basically food trapped in a porcupine’s gut.

Some Chinese people believe that bezoars have potent medicinal properties, including the ability to cure all sorts of diseases including diabetes, dengue fever, cancer, and even shields against poison.

Of course, there’s no scientific evidence for any curative properties of porcupine dates.

Where Do Porcupines Live?

North American Porcupine
North American Porcupine

Porcupines are parts of two families of animals: the Old World porcupines of family Hystricidae, and the New World porcupines of family Erethizontidae.

The Old World porcupines live in southern Europe, Asia, and most of Africa while the New World porcupines are indigenous to North America and northern South America.

South African Porcupine
South African Porcupine

New World porcupines are less strictly nocturnal than Old World species in their habits, and some types live entirely in trees, while others have dens on the ground.

Are Porcupines Dangerous?

Porcupines are typically not aggressive or dangerous animals. They are herbivores and they are simply trying to defend themselves from perceived threats, such as curious dogs. Also, contrary to popular belief, porcupines cannot shoot their quills at people. Find more info here.

RELATED: Are Porcupines or Their Quills Poisonous?

What Do Porcupines Eat?

The North American porcupine and the African porcupine differ in one crucial thing when looking for food; the North American porcupine climbs up trees to find food while the African porcupine forages for food only on the ground. They both eat leaves, herbs, twigs, bark, roots, fruits and berries but also farm crops.

Are Porcupines Nocturnal?

It’s true, porcupines are primarily nocturnal but are occasionally active during daylight. Porcupine’s quills are black and white and this aids in part of its defense as most of the predators are nocturnal and color blind.

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Where Do Porcupines Sleep?

We already know that porcupines forage for food at night and sleep by day. But where do they sleep?

Where do porcupines sleep
Porcupine sleeping in a tree

Porcupines can really blow our minds. They seem so awkward and clumsy that one wouldn’t suspect they can climb trees let alone sleep in them but that is exactly what they do. At least the New World porcupines do. Old World porcupines stick to the ground and sleep in dens. They don’t have time to climb no damn trees.

Is Porcupine A Mammal Or A Rodent?

Although their Latin name means quill pig, porcupines are not mammals but rodents. There are 58 species of porcupines belonging to two families which are quite different. The 11 Old World porcupines are larger than New World species.

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Do Porcupines Float Or On Water?

Not only can porcupines float on water, they can even swim good. The reason for that is that their quills have a hollow structure. This helps with buoyancy as they have trapped air inside them.

Are There Porcupines Without Quills?

Porcupine quills tend to grow back if they lose them in a fight or for some other reason. Their body is covered with up to 30,000 long quills that are hollow and pointed. Their quills can be easily dispatched by them but are incredibly hard to take out when lodged in ones skin or fur.