Among rodents in Canada, the porcupine ranks second for its size, immediately after the beaver. Adult males reach an average weight of 5.5 kg after 6 years and females, a weight of 4.5 kg. The total length ranges on average from 68 cm to 100 cm and the height at the shoulder is around 30 cm.
Although the porcupine feeds mainly on the inner bark of trees, it also eats a variety of other plants. In winter, although the needles and bark of most trees suit it, its favourite foods are ponderosa pine in the west, white pine in the Great Lakes region and hemlock in the states of the Northeast.
Although the native North American species still prefer to live in trees, it is not only found in mature stands; it can indeed be found in the thickets of alders along the rivers, and in the thickets of stunted pines along the ridges. It is on rock outcrops and heaps of stones, which can very well serve as a shelter, and in the stands of trembling aspen, hemlock and other trees, that we find the most.
Porcupines begin to breed at the age of a year or two. In the southern part of their range, they mate in September; at higher latitudes, it’s in late October or November. The male will follow the female during this period and give her a serenade of grunts and hums.