North American Porcupine Erethizon dorsatum - Stock Image

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Description
A young North American porcupine - Erethizon dorsatum - climbs a tree looking for food, and settles for gnawing on pine bark. Porcupines do not throw their quills, but the quills detach easily and the barbs make them very difficult to remove. When threatened they swing their tails at their attackers. Their downfall can be a cunning predator that maneuvers the animal onto its back, exposing its unprotected underside. Porcupines are nearsighted and slow-moving through forest tree. They have a natural antibiotic in their skin cells that prevents infection when they fall from a tree and self-inflict their own quills. This occurs fairly often because they prefer the tender shoots and end branches that don't support their weight well. Flagstaff, Arizona, 2013.

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