Porcupine vs Hedgehog Best 10 Main Differences Explained

Porcupine vs Hedgehog

The porcupine covers a variety of habitats, including mixed and coniferous forests of Canada, South America, the tundra, grasslands, Europe Asia and Africa, etc. The North American porcupines can be seen in Canada and Alaska. The North and South America porcupine spend most of their time in trees. However, the New World porcupines live in trees, while the Old World porcupines are not excellent tree-climbers. The porcupine has needle-like quills. These quills act like defensive action. The porcupine’s quills are difficult to remove and are barbed to get stuck in predators. The porcupine waves its tail, detaching the tail quills and sticking into the predator. These porcupine quills tend to be harmless. The porcupine arches its back, allowing quills to stick upon being threatened. The porcupine exhibit different behaviors if they feel threatened. The porcupine is an herbivore that eats bark, stems, leaves, fruits, etc. The female porcupine gives birth to the baby porcupines, called porcupettes. 

In contrast, the hedgehogs fall under the animal order Erinaceomorpha, possessing the coarse hair covering over their face and belly. The hedgehogs live in a variety of habitats such as suburban areas, woodland edges, etc. However, the European hedgehogs, also called insectivores, are present in Southern Europe. The hedgehogs are solitary creatures, sleeping for about 18 hours per day. The hedgehogs grow up to a body length of about 4 to 12 inches. The hedgehog’s quills are made up of keratin. The hedgehog quills are also called spines. They act as a defensive barrier that helps to stop predators from attacking. The hedgehogs curl up into a tight ball, leaving nothing but a spiky ball outside. 

Most hedgehogs possess poor eyesight. The hedgehog is closely related to the two animals; moles and shrews. The diet of a hedgehog includes frogs, small snakes, small insects, and other invertebrates. The hedgehogs are not egg-laying mammals. The female hedgehog gives birth to the baby hedgehogs in June and July. In comparison, the male hedgehog sometimes tries to eat the young hedgehogs. Most predators such as badgers, carnivores, and large birds enjoy eating hedgehogs. 

Porcupine vs Hedgehog

Although there are many similarities between porcupines and hedgehogs, they are not the same animal species. The hedgehogs and porcupines are the prickly mammals. The only similarity is both hedgehog and porcupine are spiny anteaters, possessing spiny quills. Both hedgehogs and porcupines show defensive behavior using sharp quills. The differences between the hedgehog and a porcupine are also of great concern. The Porcupines are much more giant, even the hedgehog largest species. The adult porcupine is much more giant than the adult hedgehog. There are more quills in porcupine than the hedgehog. The porcupine African species have about one foot longer quills than the hedgehog. On the other hand, the hedgehog species are considered more useful garden pets than the porcupine.



  • The porcupines possess more robust, short legs and black or brown to yellow-colored fur. There are hairless soles on their feet, helping them climb trees. In addition to it, these animals have a small head, small ears, and a rounded body. Quills are considered the most recognizable feature of these animals. 
  • The hedgehogs are animals with light brown, black, or white-colored bodies. There are several shades found in bands along with the quills of these animals. The covering of coarse hair is present around the neck, belly, and face of the hedgehog. They also have big feet with five toes each and more robust legs.  
  • The porcupines are present in various countries, such as mixed and coniferous forests of Northern Mexico, western and northeastern regions of the United States, and Canada. Besides forests, these animals are also found in other places, including the tundra, desert shrub communities, and grasslands. 
  • The hedgehogs are also present in different countries, including England, New Zealand, Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and across Europe. In addition to it, the hedgehog is native to suburban hedgerows and woodland edges, where there is enough food for them. 
  • The porcupines possess an average body length of about 25 to 36 inches or 60 to centimeters long, and a long tail of about 8 to 10 inches or 20 to 25 centimeters. These large, rounded, and slow animals use an aposematic defense strategy. Furthermore, the male porcupine weighs between 22 and 27 pounds, while the female porcupine is with an average weight of about 15 to 18 pounds. 
  • The hedgehogs can be easily fit in the hands of an adult. According to the San Diego Zoo, the hedgehog has an average body length of about 10 to 30 centimeters or 4 to 12 inches. In comparison to it, their weight varies depending on the species. For example, the healthy adult hedgehog has an average weight between 1 and 2 pounds or 0.45 to 0.90 kilograms in the wild. 
  • The porcupines require a proper diet to survive. The porcupine is an herbivore, meaning it will only rely on plants. For example, their diet consists of clover, skunk cabbage,  twigs, leaves, bark, seeds, roots, stems, berries, grasses, evergreen needles of the plants, etc. 
  • The hedgehogs are omnivores, which means they will eat anything getting into their mouths, such as caterpillars, beetles, earthworms, millipedes, and slugs. Besides these insects, the hedgehog also eats a variety of other creepy crawlies. However, a natural diet includes insects. 
  • The porcupines communicate with each other using various ways, including their quills, smell, and sound. Furthermore, the porcupine species mostly communicate with each other on finding mates and different threats. 
  • Research has shown that hedgehogs are fairly vocal and communicate with each other in a various ways. These include a combination of squeals, snuffles, and grunts, depending on the species. 
  • The porcupines are buoyant due to the hollow parts of their quills. It helps the porcupine float in the water. Although all porcupines are excellent swimmers, not all porcupine species love to swim in water, but brush-tailed and crested and North American porcupine species are keen swimmers. 
  • Although hedgehogs are good swimmers, they often swim. The reason is that the hedgehog cannot quickly get out of swimming pools or ponds. However, there are chances for these nocturnal creatures to swim in pools, keeping in mind various precautions. 
  • The North American porcupines have almost 30,000 quills, each one of which is adorned with 700 to 800 barbs nearest their tip or along the 4 millimeters. The quills lie flat until these animals are threatened or disturbed. Although the porcupine cannot detach them, they are also not able to shoot quills at predators. 
  • There is a thick layer of spikes called quills on the back of hedgehogs. Their quills are made up of keratin, the same stuff found in human fingernails and hair. In addition to it, there are several shades of various colors present in bands along with the quills of the hedgehog. They can easily control their sharp quills by a series of muscles. 
  • The porcupine species do not hibernate but stay in their dens during extremely bad weather conditions. These animals build nests or sometimes den in the abandoned burrows of another animal, under blown down trees or a stump, in rock ledge, a hollow log or tree, and even under the buildings. 
  • The hedgehog nests are large-sized, usually made of leaves, grass, mosses, and other garden debris. Despite all these facts, they are also found under thick bramble bushes, piles of rubbish, garden sheds, or at the base of thick hedges. Their nest is called a hibernaculum. 
  • The porcupine lives for a specific time, after which it dies. For instance, the porcupine possesses an average lifespan of about 18 years in the wild. The last porcupines were recorded with a lifespan of about 25 to 30 years. 
  • The hedgehog species also live for a specific time, after which they die. For example, the normal lifespan of a hedgehog in the wild is 2 to 3 years. Besides this, it can live for almost 8 to 10 years in captivity. 
  • The primary predators of these animals are fishers, mountain lions, wolverines, coyotes, bobcats, etc. 
  • Badgers are the primary predators of the hedgehog. It is also preyed on by large birds. 


Sometimes, people get confused and raise questions about hedgehog vs porcupine to clear their minds. Therefore, the answers to some of those questions are as mentioned below;

Is the hedgehog related to the porcupine?

Hedgehogs are small mammals with short legs and bodies and cone-shaped faces covered with quills. Despite similar appearances, hedgehogs and porcupines are not related to each other. According to the animal planet, hedgehog quills are not easily detached from their bodies, unlike porcupines.


Various animals and plants are present throughout the world, all possessing unique identification characters discriminating against them. The same is the case with the porcupine and a hedgehog. People usually confuse these mammals due to their similar appearances. There is no need to worry as this blog post provides exciting facts and information about these mammals to clear people’s minds. It will help greatly if you read this article with great care and pay full attention.

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