North American Porcupine

(Erethizon dorsatum). Patient Number 22-109.

Date of admission: April 22, 2022.
Reason for admission: Blunt trauma.

Patient History:

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.

This North American porcupine was originally admitted with an injured leg, suspected to be from a tussle with another animal. After x-rays, it was found that he was suffering from an old healed pelvic fracture, which had likely caused the immobility in his left back leg.

He is currently receiving treatment for some residual wounds as a result of his pelvis and leg injury, and superficial bite wounds caused by the animal attack.

His treatment is progressing slowly, so he will likely remain with us for several weeks, but he has already gained some healthy weight, and has more energy every day.

Thank you for supporting his care, and helping to keep this porcupine forever wild!

North American Porcupine

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