Spiny Mammals Hedgehog vs Porcupine

Difference Between Hedgehog and Porcupine

Have you ever come across a tiny, spiny creature and wondered if it was a hedgehog or a porcupine? These exotic animals make fascinating pets, but you must first understand how they vary from one another before deciding which to get. It’s easy to compare a hedgehog and a porcupine. They have a long list of differences, in truth.



Their name comes from the fact that they like to root through dense trees, hedges, and undergrowth. It was labelled as a hog because it appears to grunt as it moves through the trees. It does not, though, have anything to do with pigs or hogs.

The majority of their body is coated in rigid quills, with the exception of their ears. This covers the backside, underside, and sides of their bodies. The quills are composed of a material similar to human hair or fingernails. Since the quills are made of keratin, they are highly rigid hair or nails.

These species have five toes on their very sturdy back legs, with the exception of four-toed hedgehogs. Through their angled claws, they can quickly dig. Their hearing and scent abilities are exceptional, aided by big ears and a long snout.



To start with, porcupines are rodents with spikes on their backs. They are known as “quill pigs” in Latin. If the porcupine is in a defensive posture, the quills appear to lie down. A porcupine’s fur is naturally fluffy, with 30,000 quills added in for good measure. The quills are loosely bound to the porcupine’s body and have little barbs at the tip.


Hedgehogs are mostly found in Europe, Africa, and Asia, with a small population in New Zealand. According to various accounts, the hedgehog has at least 15 to 17 distinct varieties.

There are roughly two dozen varieties, of two types: Old World, which lives in southern Europe, Asia, and Africa, and New World, which lives in the rest of the world. The native New World is located in North America and the northern half of South America. They are regarded as the world’s third largest rodent.


Tiny insects and smaller creatures such as rodents, spiders, and even frogs make up Hedgehog diet. They just hibernate if they are in cooler temperatures, but they are usually around all year.

Porcupines eat mainly plants. Tree bark, tree roots, and just about everything “woody” are staples of their diet. Old World porcupines are not good tree climbers and like to stay on the ground, but they are good swimmers. Porcupines in the New World may live in trees. Since they are nocturnal, the odds of catching one during the day are slim.

Defensive Mechanism

Hedgehogs shield themselves by curling up into a ball to cover their feet and paws. Furthermore, neither of their quills are readily removable.

Porcupines do not fold into a ball while they sleep. Quills are essentially rigid hair that, due to their barbed ends and loose connections, easily become attached to the predator’s body, especially around the face. It’s a very effective defensive system. Porcupines cannot throw their quills to fight mythical folklore, contrary to popular belief. A topical antibiotic is used with the quills.


Hedgehogs have been known to live for 16 years, while porcupines have been known to live for 27 years. Hedgehogs and porcupines in the wild will survive for seven years on average before being eaten by a predator. Since they are shielded from these predators, species born in captivity as pets or in zoos normally live longer.

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