Porcupines are rodentian mammals with a coat of sharp spines, or quills, that protect against predators. The Old World porcupines live in southern Europe, Asia and most of Africa. They are large, terrestrial, and strictly nocturnal. The New World porcupines are indigenous to North America and northern South America. They live in wooded areas and can climb trees, where some species spend their entire lives. They are less strictly nocturnal than their Old World relatives, and generally smaller.
Porcupines are the third-largest of the rodents, behind the capybara and the beaver. They occur in various shades of brown, gray, and white. Porcupines’ spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated erinaceomorph hedgehogs and Australian spiny anteaters or monotreme echidnas.
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