Getting to the Point with Porcupines

Young Porcupines In A Pine Tree

Porcupines play an important role in our forest ecosystems.

Porcupines in Managed Woodlands: Tools for Family Forestland Owners is a publication created by our colleagues at the Woodland Fish and Wildlife Group.This publication introduces these prickly mammals to us, and includes interesting facts about this species. It can also help small woodland owners understand porcupines in Oregon and Washington forests. These animals are both an important part of the ecosystem and a potential agricultural pest. The publication also shows how to manage forests with porcupines in mind as they face an uncertain future largely due to human action.

Porcupines in Managed Woodlands: Tools for Family Forestland Owners provides a background and context for better understanding the role managed forests play in providing habitat for porcupines. Some of the important concepts covered in the publication include :

  • porcupine biology
  • threats to porcupines
  • tree damage caused by porcupines
  • tools for porcupine management
Porcupine Mother and Baby

Fun fact: a juvenile porcupine is a porcupette.

A Struggling Wildlife Species

The North American porcupine (Erithezon dorsatum) is the only species found in the United States. It is also the largest species of porcupine in the world, weighing up to thirty-five pounds. They spend much of their time in trees and dine on bark and wood. They are also known to eat fruit, leaves, and buds.

To determine if the damage on a tree is from a porcupine or other forest animal, look at the teeth marks. Porcupines will leave teeth marks that are five millimeters wide and one inch long. Compare this to mountain beavers which leave much smaller teeth marks. However, it is important to look for other clues, too, like nearby dens or scat. This is because tooth marks alone can be tricky to discern.

This publication will give you a lot of interesting information about this fascinating animal. It will also provide tips on managing and preventing damage. This animal is struggling to survive and needs to be part of your forest management. It is not a species to eradicate.

Download Porcupines in Managed Woodlands: Tools for Family Forestland Owners below.

WFW 2022 Porcupines Final 300dpi Reduced
WFW 2022 Porcupines Final 300dpi Reduced
2.0 MB

This publication is produced by the Woodland Fish and Wildlife Group. This is a cooperative group created by state and federal agencies and universities to provide information on fish and wildlife management to private woodland owners and managers. For more information about the Woodland Fish and Wildlife Group, please visit their website. While you are there, you can easily downloaded their many free publications.


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Clackamas SWCD