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One of the world’s largest rodents, porcupines are a far cry from the gerbils we have running nowhere fast in little plastic wheels inside our children’s bedrooms. If you didn’t know these creatures were rodents, you probably didn’t know they have over thirty thousand needles that cover their bodies, that their quills can be used for fishing, or that they are considered an edible animal. Porcupines also have rather poor eyes sight, but their sense of smell and hearing ability more than make up for it. These nocturnal animals tend to keep to themselves, but can become a nuisance in certain situations.
Because they are rodents, porcupines have a need to chew. If unable to chew, the animal’s teeth would grow too long to be able to consume food and the porcupine would eventually starve to death. This necessity of nature has led to the porcupine being disliked for the damage it can cause to trees near homes or businesses. A single animal can quickly expose the root system on a tree, leaving it open to insects or disease. Trees that have been girdled by chewing will die, often ruining thousands of dollars’ worth of landscaping.
Sometimes the porcupine doesn’t have to be actively destroying property for alarm to be raised about its close proximity. An animal that takes up residence under or near a home poses a threat to all of the occupants in the dwelling, be they human or animal. Dogs are notorious for tangling with porcupines, and most dogs are often repeat offenders. Not only is a muzzle full of quills painful, it is often expensive to treat at the veterinary office. (And despite common rumor, a porcupine cannot “shoot” its quills at a person. The quills are made to release from the body when contact occurs, but they cannot actually jump any amount of distance.) Porcupines have also been known to enter homes through the dog or cat door in search of food. Once inside the house, they often are not able to find their way back out and end up hunkered down in the corner of a dark room.
Trapping a porcupine can be done by a homeowner, but some safety precautions should be remembered. Porcupines are not overtly aggressive, but they still have teeth if their quills don’t get your first. A porcupine’s quill will expand upon entering the skin, which is why it is so hard to remove the needles once they have caused an injury. Pulling the quills often traumatizes the flesh more than the initial stab. For this reason, if you trap a porcupine, be sure to cover the trap in a tarp while transporting the animal. If you have used a lethal trap, porcupine quills are still a threat to you. Do not handle the animal without heavy gloves. If possible, do not handle the animal at all.
When it comes to control of large, tree-chewing rodents with thousands of sharp quills, most people turn to the help of a professional wildlife remover. Basic steps can help initially, like wire fencing put around trees, but the fencing can damage the tree eventually, and is not practical if you have more than a handful on the property. Some porcupine remedies include hot sauce or commercial repellents placed on areas prone to chewing, but the success rate of repellents leaves much to be desired. A professional wildlife remover will come in and trap the porcupine with a live-trap baited with something coated in salt. (Porcupines love salt!) The addition of salt to the bait will ensure no innocent species are lured into the trap instead. Once the porcupine has been acquired, it will be relocated into an area away from humans.
More in-detail how-to porcupine removal articles:
Information about porcupine trapping - analysis and methods for how to trap.
Information about how to kill a porcupine - with poison or other methods.
Information about how to catch a porcupine - remove one stuck in the house.
Information about porcupine repellent - analysis of types and effectiveness.
This site is intended to provide education and information about how to keep porcupines away from your house, yard, garbage cans, shed, so that you can make an informed decision if you need to deal with a porcupine problem. This site provides many porcupine control articles and strategies, if you wish to attempt to solve the problem yourself. If you are unable to do so, which is likely with many cases of porcupine removal, please go to the home page and click the USA map, where I have wildlife removal experts listed in over 500 cites and towns, who can properly help you with keeping away porcupines.
Click here to read more about how to get rid of porcupines.