Top Differences Between Porcupines and hedgehogs

Porcupines and hedgehogs

A hedgehog is any of the thorny creatures of the subfamily Erinaceinae, in the eulipotyphlan family Erinaceidae. There are around seventeen known hedgehog species in five genera seen through parts of Asia, Europe, and Africa.

The hedgehog was named so because of its characteristic foraging methods. These mammals root through hedges and other brush in search of the tiny creatures that compose the bulk of their diet—worms, insects, snails, centipedes, frogs, mice, and even snakes.

​When baby hedgehogs are born—up to six in a litter—their new spines are short and soft. Soon after coming on the earth, their spines harden, becoming sharper, stiffer, and comparatively longer.

Porcupines are giant rodents with coats of quills or sharp spines that defend them against predation. The term covers two animal families: the New World porcupines of the family Erethizontidae and the Old World porcupines of family Hystricidae. The porcupine is the prickliest of rodents. They eat fruits, leaves, stems, and natural bark.

You can make out when porcupines are mad: They hiss, stomp their feet, and shake their shafts, which generally lie flat against their body. While porcupines are seldom aggressive, they’ll save themselves swatting their spiked tail at opponents or by charging.

What are the differences between hedgehogs and Porcupines

Defensive mechanism

Possibly the most noticeable distinction between porcupines and hedgehogs is how they utilize their quills to protect themselves.

Porcupines are known to arch their back and stick up their quills, waving their tail around to hit a desperate predator so its shafts will stick into the intruder. A porcupine’s quills are sharp so that they stab in a predator and are tough to remove.

Hedgehogs will perhaps erect their spines after rolling into a ball to show no part of their body. That way, attackers don’t have anything to chew and are dissuaded by the spiky creatures.

Eating Habits

As mentioned above, porcupines are herbivores, living off leaves, fruits, buds, grass, stems, and bark.

On the other hand, hedgehogs are known insectivores, which means their primary nutrition comes from insects. They may also hog other invertebrates or even frogs, mice, and snakes.

The Size Difference

Porcupines can grow up to 25-40 inches long with a 6-14 inches long tail. On the other hand, hedgehogs are smaller. They range from 5-14 inches, with a baby tail that doesn’t grow more than 1.8 inches long.


Porcupines have about 30,000 spines, whereas Hedgehogs have about 5,000.

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