Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for




Date of this Version

July 1994


Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum), sometimes called “porkies” or “quill pigs,” are heavy-bodied, shortlegged, slow, and awkward rodents, with a waddling gait. Adults are typically 25 to 30 inches (64 to 76 cm) long and weigh 10 to 30 pounds (4.5 to 13.5 kg). They rely on their sharp, barbed quills (up to 30,000 per individual) for defense.
The porcupine is a common resident of the coniferous forests of western and northern North America. It wanders widely and is found from cottonwood stands along prairie river bottoms and deserts to alpine tundra.

Exclusion: Fences (small areas). Tree trunk guards.
Cultural Methods: Encourage closed-canopy forest stands.
Repellents: None are registered. Some wood preservatives may incidentally repel porcupines.
Toxicants: None are registered.
Fumigants: None are registered.
Trapping: Steel leghold trap (No. 2 or 3). Body-gripping (Conibear®) trap (No. 220 or 330). Box trap.
Shooting: Day shooting and spotlighting are effective where legal.
Other Methods: Encourage natural predators.