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Hedgehog vs Porcupine | Compare The 7 Major Differences

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The hedgehog vs porcupine debate has been going on for years. What is the difference between a hedgehog and a porcupine? And are hedgehogs and porcupines related? Thee are the most popular questions some net pet owners ask. Besides both being prickly mammals they are both frequently confused as they sharp quills on their body and are similar colours.

However, when you look a bit closer there are vast differences between the 2 and in this article, we’ll examine the main difference of the porcupine vs hedgehog

What Is The Difference Between A Hedgehog And A Porcupine? (Hedgehog vs Porcupine)

The major difference between porcupines and hedgehogs is that a porcupine is much bigger and has longer quills. A hedgehog is much smaller and has much shorter quills. Moreover, porcupine quills detach from their body and can stick into a predator but a hedgehog is only able to curl up into a ball for safety.

1. Location

Porcupines and hedgehogs are found in different parts of the planet. Both are native to Europe Asia and Africa. However, Hedgehogs have recently been introduced into NewZealand. Porcupines can be found in the USA, Canada and even North and South America.

2. Habitats

The porcupine spends more time in trees then the hedgehog and it has small grips on it take to help it climb. The porcupine in Europe Asia and Africa (North and South America) tends to live in deserts, forests and grasslands. Hedgehogs, conversely, live in and around vegetation, farmlands and gardens.

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3. Quills

Each animal has different quills. Hedgehogs have shorter quills. Measuring around 1 inch in length the hedgehog quills are much shorter then it’s porcupine friend. The porcupine quills measure in the region of 2 to 3 inches long and there are some different species (in Africa) that have quills grow up to 11 inches long!

A very big difference between them is that a porcupine quills can easily come off their bodies if attacked or entangled in something. Hedgehogs, on the other hand, has a body structure that makes it much harder for any quills to come away and usually has a longer-lasting quill cycle.

It’s also important to note that hedgehog has around 5,000 quills while the porcupine has around 30,000. When thinking “what is the difference between a hedgehog and a porcupine” this is usually the most obvious one.

4. Size

Hedgehogs tend to grow to around the 5 -11 inch mark in length. A porcupine, on the other hand, can grow up to 36 inches long and is generally larger then it’s hedgehog friend.

A hedgehog’s tale measure s in around the 2cm mark while a porcupine has a tail that measures around 10 inches long. This is probably due to the hedgehog living primarily on the ground and the porcupine climbing trees.

5. Danger

Hedgehogs and porcupines are also different in the way they respond to danger. When faced with an unpleasant situation a hedgehog will curl up into a ball to defend itself.

A porcupine, conversely, will arch it’s back and point his quills up. It also waves its tail to hit a potential predator that detaches the quills and acts as an additional determent.

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6. Meat and Grass.

What is the difference between a hedgehog and a porcupine? Hedgehogs are carnivores and eat garden pests like slugs, worms, snails, centipedes etc. Porcupines are herbivores and will eat fruit, grass, bark and other vegetation in their surroundings.

7. Family Types

Another big difference between the pair is that they are from different family types. The hedgehog is a “Eulipotyphla”. This includes other shrews and mole types create. The Porcupine, on the other hand is from the “Rodentia’ family which include mice, rate and other beavers.

Frequently Asked Questions – Porcupine vs Hedgehog

Are hedgehogs and porcupines the same?

Although many people think they are the same there are many differences. Hedgehogs are apart of the Eulipotyphla family. this includes other shrews and moles. Porcupines are from a different family altogether. They are from the Rodentia group which include other mice, rats and beavers. Even though they look similar they are not the same animal and the fact that they come from different families solidifies this fact.

Are porcupines bigger than hedgehog?

Yes, porcupines are bigger then hedgehogs and if you put them side by side you will see a noticeable difference. Porcupine also weighs more and are longer in diameter and height. Besides the obvious size difference in size, a porcupine also has a longer tail then a hedgehog. As it’s from the Rodentia family they tend to have longer and much thicker tails then hedgehogs.

Are Hedgehog and echidna the same thing?

No, they are not. It’s not uncommon to think they are the same but hedgehogs are classed as placental mammals and echidnas, on the other hand, are monotremes. They do have some similarities though. Hedgehogs and echidnas both have similar spinal makeup. They both have different diets with echidnas preferring to eat ants,, worms and termites as it’s favourite meals. Hedgehogs have a varied diet and will eat just about anything including:

  • Mealworms:
  • Waxworms:
  • Crickets:
  • Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, and melons
  • Vegetables: Fresh tomatoes, fresh green beans,
  • Cooked meat: High protein, low-fat canned cat or dog food will work fine
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Do hedgehogs bite?

Yes, but it’s very unlikely to happen as hedgehogs are not violent or prone to biting. If your hedgehog is afraid and is being backed into a corner then they may use biting as a form of defence. However, it’s best to avoid provoking them. For example, don’t smear your hand in front of a hungry hedgehog as they can make a mistake and give your hand a little nip.

Do porcupines curl into balls?

Yes, Both hedgehogs and porcupines will curl into a ball if they feel threatened. You will know this is the case as their spines will stand up straight. Porcupines can even move their spines quickly to produce a sound that will warn of predators. Although hedgehogs can curl into a ball they can’t release the spines to attack predators so that’s is the only similarity they share.

Do porcupines smell?

Yes, they smell very bad! It’s one of the more pungent odors that you will smell and they release this when they are in fear or to warn away predators. It’s a prerequisite to releasing their lethal quills and the smell is almost unavoidable. The chemical compound is called R-delta-decalactone

Porcupine Vs Hedgehog Video

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