Wondering what it is like to domesticate a Porcupine? Well, if you are a first-time pet keeper, it is definitely a bad idea. However, if you already have some experience with exotic animals, you might have it easy with Porcupines as pets. Come let’s shed some more light.
Getting a Pet Porcupine: What You Need to Know
What is a Porcupine? A Porcupine is a rodent with coats of sharp spines. Its unique appearance gives Porcupine a dangerous look that, before going forward, individuals will think twice about.
Porcupines belong to two different families the Old-World porcupines of the family Hystricidae and the New World porcupines of the family Erethizontidae. Both of these further belong to the infraorder Hystricognathi family.
Though they are popular worldwide, Porcupines are commonly found in Europe, Africa, and Asia (Old World Porcupines). Or they are also native to parts of North, Central, and South America (New World Porcupines).
Porcupines are largely nocturnal and terrestrial. In the wild, they survive in the wooded area and can even climb trees. They grow about 25 to 36 inches in size with a 10 inches long tail. Whereas in weight, they can grow from 1.3 lbs to 35 lbs.
Where Do Porcupines Originate?
Porcupines originated across the Atlantic from Africa to Brazil over 30 million years ago. Later during the Great American Interchange, they migrated to the Northern American regions.
The North American Porcupines were originally descended from South America, and it is where all the New World Porcupines evolved from.
Some of the Porcupine fossils suggest that they could be ancestors of major animals from the rodent family.
Porcupine Species Taxonomy
|Length: 25 to 36 inches
Weight: 1.6 lbs to 37.4 lbs
|Up to 14 years in the wild
Up to 20 years in captivity
Do Porcupines make good Pets?
Porcupines are the right pets for the right individuals. These animals can prove themselves as extremely bad pets for novice and irresponsible humans.
Porcupines are unlike other pets whom individuals usually domesticate. They are usually inactive throughout the day and show many activities during the night due to their nocturnal behavior.
Also, since they have poor eyesight, they won’t recognize your presence until they try smelling you. And unlike your dogs and cats, they are definitely not cuddly, and you can’t risk holding them.
Having a porcupine is more likely to see them from afar, provide all the required care, and let the animal live on its own. Individuals who are ready for the same might have a good time having Porcupines.
However, if you want them to replace your love for dogs and cats, Porcupines will definitely not make a good pet for you.
Is it Legal to keep Porcupines as pets?
Porcupines may have a reputation for being prickly, but these rodents are legal as pets in many parts of the world.
For instance, you might have them as pets in the U.K., but in Asian countries like India, you simply can’t.
Similarly, even when Porcupines are traded for food in China, individuals can’t keep them as pets.
Are Porcupines legal in the U.S.?
A number of states in the United States allow possessing, buying, and selling Porcupines.
However, of the 29 different types of Porcupines, majorly the North American porcupines are legal in the United States.
However, despite whatever the State government says, for possessing a Porcupine, individuals should also look after the local laws.
In many states where Porcupines are legal, counties, cities, and even towns may have a ban on keeping them.
Or, in some cases, landlords or homeowners’ insurance aren’t accommodating for exotic pets like Porcupines.
Besides that, in the U.S. States, where permits are a must for owning Porcupines, interested individuals may have to go through a long process.
The authorities in charge can go for your background check or even visit your place before allowing the permit.
Can you have Porcupines as pets?
If you can provide the right environment and care, you can definitely have Porcupines as pets.
However, make sure you behave extremely gently around them and do not show extreme physical affection.
Also, individuals who already own a dog or cat should avoid having Porcupines.
Since there are several instances where dogs were on the receiving end of Porcupines, it can prove extremely dangerous for both pets.
Porcupines Housing Needs
Porcupines in the wild can survive in any terrain, including forests, grasslands, mountains, rainforests, and desserts.
In captivity, these rodents need a separate space, and you can’t simply allow them to roam free anywhere.
Instead, either prepare a large ventilated cage or your backyard space (with wire covering all across).
Besides that, line the base of their habitat with straw or pine shavings. Avoid anything concrete and slippery, though.
Also, since porcupines love climbing, hang a few ropes and branches. Do incorporate a dark den where they can relax during the daytime.
Porcupines’ Temperature and Humidity Needs
When it comes to climatic requirements, Porcupines are quite hardy.
These rodents can survive in different temperatures and humidity, given it is not too hot or too cold.
Porcupines Dietary Needs
Porcupines are Herbivorous, and in the wild, they feed on leaves, clover, twigs, berries, herbs, and occasionally tree bark.
You can feed them different natural food items in captivity, including fruits, plants, and vegetables.
However, since they are picky eaters, you might find them have a few things and avoid a few.
Feed your Porcupines usually twice or thrice a day. While two meals should be heavy, keep the third as a light snack in between.
However, do not try to force-feed the pet until and unless it feels like eating.
Also, avoid going overboard with fruits as an excess of fructose can add to their weight.
Besides food, do provide them with fresh water daily.
Porcupines are dangerous creatures when it comes to holding and grooming.
Thus it is better to leave the animal for self-cleaning. However, ensure cleaning their habitat/ enclosure from feces daily.
Common Health Problems with Porcupines
Porcupines are usually hard-skinned rodents, and they are less likely to carry an illness.
However, they can contract rabies and disease-causing parasites, including fleas, mites, and ticks.
How Much Does a Porcupine Cost?
Buying a Porcupine may cost anywhere from $1000 to $3000 depending upon which type your choose.
In the USA, the North American Porcupines are affordable in comparison to the others.
It is also better to go with the ones native since they can better make it to the local environment.
Where to buy Porcupines? Where to find a Porcupine Breeder?
For buying Porcupines, it is always better to go with USDA-licensed breeders. These individuals will provide you with the right kind of animal.
Getting exotic pets from smugglers and illegal breeders comes with many risks. You never know if you are getting a Porcupines which was originally theft.
Since possessing Porcupines is legal in several parts of the United States, you can find certified breeders easily.
Here are a few recommendations for the same: Sources: Dragon store Ranch
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Porcupine the Right Pet for You?
Porcupines aren’t the best pets you may have, but they aren’t as bad as preached. They can be wonderfully interesting companions for the right individuals. Porcupines are undoubtedly the right kind of pet for someone with a high tolerance level.
Are Porcupines smelly?
Porcupines are pungent, and their smell is indescribably bad. They release a bad odor in order to save themselves from predators. They may also use it with humans when scared.
Are Porcupine spikes poisonous?
No, Porcupines spikes, though, are pointy and Pearcy but not at all poisonous. However, if you get any of their spikes inside your skin, it is better to get medical help them trying to remove them yourself. It is because if any of its particles stay behind the skin, it can later lead to infection.
Can you own a Pet Porcupines? Well, if you are up for some challenge, you can surely own a pet Porcupine.
These rodents are great fun for individuals who have already kept exotic pets or have some experience in dealing with them. Porcupines do not require great care, and a thoughtful distance is better for both pet and owner.