Do Porcupines Shoot Their Quills?


Porcupine is large rodent coated with sharp and pointy spines, or quills, that helps to protect them from predators.

Porcupines Shoot Their Quills

A lot of top naturalists would hold the notion that porcupines can’t shoot their quills against the belief of a lot of people who have come in close contact with the said rodent.

They have dismissed the idea of porcupines shooting their quills a long time ago, terming it as delusional and mere assumption of the naïve few.

If you are asking if Porcupines shoot their quills, this article will answer that question.

Read on.

Contrary to the belief that Porcupines do not shoot their quills, there was evidence that porcupines actually do shoot their quills when a researcher on one winter morning in Ontario, came across a porcupine.

He was trailing a pack of timber wolves in hopes of catching them asleep after having a fresh kill.

He saw and chased down a porcupine to a corner, poked the porcupine with a long stick in hopes that the creature would reveal to him how quill shooting was done.

This could be done by some mysterious body mechanism he wondered as he observed the reaction of the porcupine.

The most confusing thing about this researcher’s quest was that he often finds quills stuck on his clothes and slightly poking his skin on his way home as if to say the porcupine had shot hem while he was distracted.

Years later, he had almost erased that entire experience when a porcupine took his mind back to that previous experience.

If you have seen a porcupine up close, you will realize that on the back and sides of the rodent are multitudes of quills that slide backward when he is relaxed and these quills are hidden beneath a mop of hair.

On the upper side of the rodent’s tail is hairless and quite flat, fully covered with shorter quills well arranged, pointing forward in a crossed pattern.

The quills on the body and tail of a porcupine are very lightly attached to their skin and this causes them to easily get stuck to any object or thing that comes in contact with them.

Two major factors about the porcupine is that the armor is often renewed just as they go off, new ones grow back, and that as the fresh quills come up, the old ones get weak and fall off.

The evidence that porcupines shed its quills can be found in places where porcupines gather.

During the period of the new quill coming up, any sudden flip of the porcupine’s tail would cause some of the quills flying around and this is proof that porcupines actually shoot their quills.

This quill shooting by the porcupine occurs under certain conditions which is in scenarios when the porcupine feels threatened or under attack.

The funny part of Porcupine’s quill shooting is that it may be surprising to the porcupine way more than it is surprising to a lot of naturalists because the porcupine has no idea that his tail is a slingshot weapon for shooting quills.

This is because whenever the porcupine shoots its quills, it is frightened and usually does that with its back turned and its eyes facing the ground.

This makes it difficult for the porcupine to actually aim its quills at any target due to the fact that it just flings its tail aimlessly into the air with no sense of specific aim. \

This doesn’t take away the fact that the quills from porcupines are painful and dangerous when they come in contact with your skin.

This is so because the quills are covered in dirt and unlike humans, porcupines don’t have a daily bath plan so they possibly get their bodies in contact with several unhealthy particles that get stuck on their quills which when shot at a human can cause severe health consequences.

So basically, porcupines shoot their quills when they feel threatened or under attack and this is contrary to the belief of a lot of naturalists who maintained that porcupines don’t shoot their quills.

Since it is proven that porcupines actually shoot their quills involuntarily and aimlessly, it is advisable to wear thick gloves or protective gear whenever you intend holding or meddling with this unique creature.

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My only suggestion to one who would monkey with a porcupine’s tail is this: wear tough gloves on your hands and glasses to protect your eyes.

That’s all.

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