( Erethizon dorsatum). Patient Number 21-47.
Date of admission: February 27, 2021.
Reason for admission: Head trauma.
The porcupine is the third largest rodent species in the world, only smaller than the capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) and the beaver (genus Castor). There are 29 different species of porcupines, and they are found in North and South America, southern Asia and Africa. Although the size of an adult porcupine varies with the species, the North American Porcupine can weigh as much as 10 kilograms (22 pounds).
Porcupines are herbivores. During the summer months they feed on the leaves of shrubs and trees, herbs, and clover. They are excellent climbers and spend much of their time foraging in trees. During the winter months porcupines feed on the bark, twigs, and buds of trees. Porcupines are generally nocturnal, meaning that they are most active at night. They often spend the daylight hours resting in a tree. Each year between mid-May and the end of July, one porcupine is born to each female. Interestingly, porcupines are the only North American rodent to give birth to precocial young. Precocial young are young animals that are born with hair and their eyes open, as opposed to altricial young that are born hairless and blind. Young porcupines are able to follow their mothers soon after being born.
Found unable to move, and not responding to anything around him, this North American porcupine was rescued and brought to AIWC for care. On examination it was found he was suffering from head trauma and a potential upper respiratory infection.
With supportive care (antibiotics, fluids) he is on the mend and is looking brighter every day. We are hopeful he will be strong enough to move to an outdoor enclosure soon and be released not long after that. Thank you for helping care for animals in need like this porcupine!