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Do Porcupines Make Great Pets? (Explained!)

Do porcupines make great pets? This is a question that many people are asking themselves, and for good reason. Porcupines can be a lot of fun to have around, but they also require a lot of care.

The porcupine, also known as a quill pig, is a quiet and slow animal, but one that is best known for its quills.

Although mostly known to live in the wild, this rodent can also be kept as a pet. But before you rush to the pet store to buy one, there are a few things you must know.

In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of owning a porcupine as a pet. We will also provide some tips on how to take care of your porcupine properly. So, if you’re thinking about adding a porcupine to your family, read on!

Do Porcupines Make Great Pets?

Do Porcupines Make Great Pets

Do Porcupines make great pets? Yes. Porcupines make great pets but they are definitely not for everyone. Porcupines are relatively low-maintenance pets. They don’t require a lot of care or attention and can be left alone for long periods of time without any problems. Porcupines are also very inexpensive to keep as pets. Their food and housing requirements are minimal, and they don’t require any special care or attention.

In general, Porcupines are very quiet animals. They don’t make much noise, so they won’t disturb your neighbors or cause any problems with noise pollution.

Overall, porcupines make great pets for those who are prepared to deal with their quills and are looking for a low-maintenance, inexpensive, and quiet animal.

While there are some upsides to keeping a porcupine as a pet, there are more downsides to keeping them.

One big advantage is that if you like a pet that’s unusual, you should try keeping a porcupine. The other advantage is that if you raise one from when it’s just days old, it can get attached to you. Porcupines are also challenging to keep. So, if you love a challenge, definitely go for it.

But just don’t keep them for the challenge. You have to have a love for porcupines to keep one. otherwise, you will find it difficult to ignore these downsides of having a porcupine as a pet:

  • They are not affectionate animals and prefer to be on their own.
  • They smell bad
  • You cannot housetrain a porcupine
  • Porcupines are territorial animals and can get cranky as they mature and may pose a danger to other pets
  • They can carry rabies
  • Porcupines need silence as they easily get alarmed. You should avoid making loud noises or approaching them too suddenly as they can get nervous and become defensive (leading to quilling, unfortunately). When approaching your pet porcupine, you have to talk to it to let it know you are coming.

Are Porcupines Easy To Raise?

Do Porcupines Make Great Pets

Are Porcupines easy to raise? No. Although Porcupines can be fun to have, they are definitely not easy to raise. The biggest challenge to raising a Porcupine is in getting their housing right so that it mimics their natural wild habitat. Housing will vary in size and type depending on the species of porcupine you choose.

Some species like the prehensile-tailed porcupine love to climb and hang upside down. They are also very curious and energetic, so any housing you provide them should cater to their behavioral tendencies.

Porcupines also have many daily needs that you should be prepared for. For instance, daily feeding, watering and cleaning.  

Porcupines require a large place to live and roam. Therefore, you have to provide them with a big wire cage or a large aquarium. You also need to make sure you get your aquarium fitted with good ventilation and line their habitat with straw to keep them comfortable. You can also use pine shavings in their habitat; just make sure you put in enough for them to dig under, as they are big diggers.

House them where you can install sturdy branches to climb and hang on to. This is good for exercise, and it’s also healthy as it’s in their nature to climb.

Porcupines are nocturnal creatures so they sleep during the day and are active at night. This means that if you have a pet porcupine, you’ll need to be prepared to adjust your schedule accordingly. Porcupines also require a large enclosure as they like to roam and explore their surroundings. And last but not least, porcupines can be quite loud so be prepared for some noise!

Do Porcupines Shoot Quills?

Do Porcupines Make Great Pets

Do Porcupines shoot quills? No, porcupines do not shoot their quills. The myth that they do is likely due to the fact that when a porcupine feels threatened, it will raise its quills in an attempt to intimidate its attacker. If the attacker persists, the porcupine may lash out with its tail, which is covered in sharp quills.

Porcupine quills are part of its “hair”. They cover most parts of the porcupine’s body apart from its belly. This hair was developed for personal protection, not to attack other animals. The quills come off easily as they are loosely attached to the porcupine’s skin.

Porcupine quills are not poisonous. However, they can cause infection if they become embedded in the skin. Porcupine quills are also sharp and can cause injury. If you are pricked by a porcupine quill, it is best to seek medical attention. Treatment typically involves removing the quill and treating the wound with antibiotics. In some cases, the quill may need to be surgically removed.

It is quite painful to be quilled since quills have small barbs on their tips that cause them to work deeper when they make contact with an animal or person. If the quill gets into the wrong body part, this may result in serious injury or death.

When attacked, a porcupine spins round with its nose tucked between its front legs and its quills raised. It attacks the predator by striking with its tail, embedding quills in its attacker.

It is difficult for a porcupine to quill a person unless it is handled improperly. Porcupines will quill you if they get spooked during handling. For instance, if someone bangs the door and you have a porcupine in your hands, you will get quilled. This is because nervousness causes them to raise their quills.

Can You House Train a Porcupine?

Can you house train a Porcupine? No. Porcupines cannot be house trained. However, there are some things you can do to make living with a porcupine easier. For example, you can provide them with a large enclosure that has plenty of hiding places and environmental enrichment. You can also feed them a diet that is high in fiber to help reduce their quilling behavior.

Porcupines are not the easiest animals to potty train. In fact, they’re pretty much impossible to house train. If you’re considering getting a porcupine as a pet, you might want to think twice. Unless, of course, you’re okay with living in a home with animal urine and feces everywhere.

There are some things you can do to make living with a porcupine easier, however. For example, you can provide them with a litter box filled with straw or shredded paper. You can also try training them to go outside by leading them to an area where you want them to relieve themselves. But ultimately, it’s important to accept that porcupines will never be fully house trained and be prepared to deal with the messes they make.

So, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance pet, a porcupine is probably not the right choice for you. But if you’re willing to put in the work and are okay with living in a bit of a messy environment, then a porcupine might just be the perfect pet for you. Just remember, they’re not easy to potty train!

Should You Let Your Porcupine Out In The Yard?

Should you let your Porcupine out in the yard? Yes. But only in an enclosed area and make sure there are no people are. Porcupines are very shy animals and they will not come out if there are people around. If you must let your porcupine out, make sure that there is no one else around.

Porcupines are also known to be good climbers, so make sure that there are no trees or other objects nearby that your porcupine could climb on. Keep in mind that porcupines are very curious animals and they may try to chew on things that they shouldn’t. They are extremely destructive to wood, vegetation, barns, and anything salty.

They will gnaw on anything wooden, from barns to fence posts to tree bark, oars, and anything with a wooden part. It’s what they do in the wild, so even in captivity, they still have this instinct. Your vegetables rose bush and other shrubs and plants are also not safe from porcupines.

If you have a wooden fence, it’s quite likely your porcupine will gnaw on it or dig under. They may get into your neighbor’s yard and wreak havoc, or get run over by traffic.

Pets and other livestock are also not safe around porcupines. Your livestock, dogs, and cats may get quilled trying to sniff out a porcupine out of curiosity. This can be quite painful and even fatal.

If you want to give your porcupine some outdoor time, put it in a large outdoor enclosure specially made for him.

Can a Porcupine Kill Your Dog?

Yes. A porcupine is equipped with 30,000 quills. So yes, it can kill a pet if the pet is quilled in an area near a vital organ.

Dogs, especially those with a high prey drive are most vulnerable as their instinct is to charge and hunt. Quills embed into the flesh when they make contact and cause severe pain. Dogs try to get them off by rubbing against an object. This unfortunately makes the quills drive in deeper.

Quills can migrate if not removed immediately and they can travel to a vital organ. They can also cause more damage if not removed by a vet. In addition, quills contain bacteria, and a quilled dog is therefore not just in pain but in danger of serious infections.  

Therefore, the moment you discover that your dog has been quilled by a porcupine, take it to the vet immediately.

Here is why you should never try to pull the quills out yourself:

  • Quills have barbed tips and pulling them out will only cause more damage and pain. At the vet’s your dog will be anesthetized prior to the quills being removed carefully, by hand.
  • An encounter with a porcupine could leave your dog with a large number of quills in its face or body. If you try to pull them out, he might lash out at you or injure himself more trying to get away.
  • Quills can break under the skin and cause dangerous infections or migrate deeper into the dog’s flesh and organs.
  • It’s possible for quills to embed in the mouth or down a dog’s throat. These cannot be removed easily when the dog is awake.
  • Surgical removal might be required when the vet determines that pulling out a quill will cause more damage.
  • Your dog will need meds to manage pain and infection. You can only get these from a vet.

Interestingly, dogs that survive being quilled still charge a porcupine when they see one.

Can You Handle a Porcupine?

Can you handle a Porcupine? Yes, you can handle a Porcupine. However, porcupines do not like being handled. They are very prickly and can be quite dangerous if they feel threatened. If you must handle a pet porcupine, be sure to wear thick gloves and use a lot of caution. Porcupines are not recommended as pets for most people.

People who own porcupines can, and do handle them, but not without knowing a few things about porcupines.

First, porcupines rely on their sense of smell as they have poor eyesight. This means two things: one, they won’t see you coming; if you just seem to show up out of nowhere, they will get spooked and defend themselves. Two, they will know you by your smell. Therefore, if you just handled your other pets, take a bath and change into clean clothes because your pet will mistake you for your pets and get defensive.

Second, porcupine quills lie flat when a porcupine is relaxed. If your porcupine smells you and doesn’t get spooked, it means you are in the clear. Keep talking to it as you approach or attend to it. As long as those quills stay flat, it means you are clear to pet it. You can stroke its back gently with movements that start from the front and head to the back.

Just to be safe, find a pair of leather gloves to protect your hands.

Dr. Maria Baker (DVM)

Highly experienced Veterinary Surgeon and Radiologist with 10+ years in providing superior care to animals of all kinds. Proven track record in accurate diagnosis, innovative treatment plans, and compassionate care. Drawing on expertise in the latest veterinary surgical and radiology technologies for optimal results.

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