Hedgehogs Information

Porcupines are rodents with a coat of sharp spines, or quills, that defend them from predators. They are indigenous in both the Old World and the New World. Porcupines are the third largest of the rodents, behind the capybara and the beaver. Most porcupines are about 25–36 in long, with an 8–10 in long tail. Weighing between 12–35 lb , they are rounded, large and slow. Porcupines come in various shades of brown, grey, and the unusual white. Porcupines' spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated erinaceomorph hedgehogs and monotreme echidnas.

The name porcupine comes from Middle French porc d'épine , hence the nickname "quill pig" for the animal.

A porcupine is any of 27 species of rodent belonging to the families Erethizontidae or Hystricidae. Porcupines vary in size considerably: Rothschild's Porcupine of South America weighs less than a kilogram ; the African Porcupine can grow to well over 10 kg . The two families of porcupines are quite different, and, although both belong to the Hystricognathi branch of the vast order Rodentia, they are not closely related. The eleven Old World porcupines are almost exclusively terrestrial, tend to be fairly large, and have quills that are grouped in clusters. They are believed to have separated from the other hystricognaths about 30 million years ago, much earlier than the New World porcupines.

Wikipedia, Hedgehogs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porcupine (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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