From Teddy Bear the porcupine munching on pumpkins to the sudden novelty of owning your very own Sonic the Hedgehog, these two animals are entering our hearts and homes. Let’s find out more about them!
Not So In-the-Family
Hedgehogs are not rodents. Porcupines are. They are not related!
Two Pounds or Twenty?
Hedgehogs are small. They can measure anywhere from 7-12 inches long, depending on the species. They also only weigh 2 lbs at the most.
Porcupines can grow over two feet long and weigh as much as 20 lbs. These measurements make them the second-largest rodent in North America. The first is the beaver.
Spines and Quills
A hedgehog has 5,000-7,000 spines, similar to the spines on a sea urchin. It raises these spines when it feels threatened, but they won’t do much damage to a human or large animal.
A porcupine has quills. Of its 30,000 quills, between 700-800 are barbed (ouch). It doesn’t take much for a quill to pierce your skin — less effort than a shot at the doctor’s office.
What’s for Dinner?
A hedgehog’s diet consists mainly of bugs and berries. Hedgehogs are mostly immune to snake venom. And, if it wants to, it will go for a snake. Yes, they can take down a snake — and eat it.
Like the beaver, a porcupine will eat bark, stems, and any natural wood it can find. It’ll eat leaves and fruit — and, as we’ve seen with Teddy Bear, pumpkins, and corn on the cob.
When Can You Spot Them?
Both porcupines and hedgehogs are nocturnal. If you’re looking for one in the winter, you won’t find a hedgehog. Most hedgehogs hibernate for about five-six months during this time.
You can find porcupines year-round, but they do stay inside their den during lousy weather.
Habitat and Home
Wild hedgehogs live in Europe, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand in a variety of climates. They make their nests from moss and grass underneath bushes and thickets.
Porcupines are mostly native to North America. They prefer coniferous forests but will live in mixed-forests, desert shrub, and even the tundra. Porcupines make nests and dens in hollow trees, tree branches, and rock crevices.
Both the hedgehog and porcupine have poor vision. The hedgehog, however, uses its powerful nose and sensitive hearing to detect threats and find food.
How Fast is a Hedgehog?
A hedgehog is not the fastest thing alive (sorry, Sonic!). They can only run 4 mph. And if you’re wondering about a porcupine, forget about it. These clumsy creatures are slow for their size, moving a maximum of 6 mph.
How Many Species Are There?
There are 29 different types of porcupines and 17 types of hedgehogs. The hedgehog you may be most familiar with is the African pygmy hedgehog.
Final Verdict: Spikey, But Not Related
Hedgehogs and porcupines, though both have prickly backs, differ from each other in many ways. The only thing they have in common is how cute they are!