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#6 - The Common Porcupine
The North American Porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum, is a large, nocturnal, non-aggressive, solitary rodent most easily recognized by its quills.  It is perhaps one of the best-known mammals on the continent.
North American Porcupine enjoying a bite to eat.
North American Porcupine showing its belly.
A porcupine has over 30,000 quills with the longest on its back and tail; the shortest on its face. They cover its entire body, except for the stomach, legs and muzzle. The quills are actually a form of hair and are hollow with barbed tips. Contrary to popular belief, the porcupine is unable to shoot its quills, but does use them as a defensive tactic.  When threatened a porcupine will raise its back and lash out its tail.  If an animal hits or attacks the porcupine it can expect are rather unpleasant result.
North American Porcupine chewing a twig.
The Porcupine, thanks to its claw-like toes, loves to climb trees and does so easily. You may actually miss spotting a Porcupine, thinking that a large black ball on a tree top is something else completely different.

Scratch marks in the bark of a tree is evidence that a Porcupine has been by.
North American Porcupine
This fascinating creature is a herbivore, feeding on leaves, green plants, twigs and even bark which it likes to gnaw as its teeth are constantly growing. 
« #5 - The American Pika
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