Porcupine Vs Hedgehog: 15 Major Differences & Similarities

Porcupine and hedgehogs are prickly mammals. They have sharp spines on their body. However, these needle-like features tend to perform different functions.

So, what is the main difference between hedgehog and porcupine? A hedgehog is comparatively small with short quills while a porcupine is relatively large with long quills.

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Comparison Table (Porcupine Vs Hedgehog)

Basic Terms Porcupine Hedgehog
Definition It is a large rodent with defensive spines over the body and tail It is a small nocturnal old world mammal with spiny coat and legs
Order Eulipotyphla Rodentia
Geographical Locations North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia Europe, Asia, and Africa
Habitat Have a wider habitat range from forests, grasslands to deserts Tend to inhabit dry spots under hedges, bushes, rocks, or buildings.
Body Size 20-36 inches long 4-12 inches long
Body Weight 15 kg 1 kg
Face Shape Has a rounded face Has a triangular face with snout
Feet Shape Has broad feet with long claws Has small feet with minute claws
Spine Length 2-3 inches long 1 inch long
Number of Spines on Body 30,000 quills 5, 000 quills.
Behavior of Quills Detach from the body Do not detach from the body
Length of Tail 8-12 inches 2 inches
Defensive Behavior Detach quills from the body and get a stick on the predator Roll up into a ball and quills prevent a predator from attacking
Mode of Nutrition Herbivores Carnivores
Lifespan 27 years 2-7 years
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What Is a Porcupine?

It is a large and slow-moving rodent with long quills all over the body. These rodents are mainly herbivores. They depend on fruits, leaves, buds, grass, bark, and stems.

The main types of porcupines are Old World Porcupines and New World Porcupines. These creatures are mainly found in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

These rodents tend to detach their quills when threatened. These quills are difficult to remove and they tend to grow back over time.

What Is a Hedgehog?

It is a small and spiny mammal with a cone-like shape. The creature has a stockier body and short legs. It is mainly a carnivore.

These minute mammals tend to feed on small snakes, frogs, slugs, insects, centipedes, worms, and snails.

Hedgehogs tend to hibernate during cold climates and aestivate during dry climates. They have poor eyesight but an excellent sense of smell.

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Main Difference between Porcupine and Hedgehog

  1. Porcupine belongs to order Eulipotyphla while hedgehog belongs to Rodentia.
  2. Porcupine has a round face while hedgehog have a triangular face with a snout
  3. Porcupine has longer quills while hedgehog have shorter quills
  4. Porcupine has over 30,000 quills while hedgehog has 5000 quills
  5. Porcupine tend to detach quills from the body while hedgehog does not detach quills
  6. Porcupine has long quills while hedgehog have shorter quills
  7. Hedgehog has a shorter tail while porcupine has a longer tail
  8. Hedgehogs are carnivores while porcupines are herbivores
  9. Porcupine has broad feet with long claws while hedgehog have small feet with minute claws
  10. Porcupine is heavier than a hedgehog
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Similarities between Hedgehog and Porcupine

  1. Both are prickly mammals
  2. Both quills are for the defensive mechanism
  3. Both have tail
  4. Both have native Europe, Asia, and Africa

Hedgehog vs Porcupine FAQs

Are Hedgehog and Porcupine Related?

Not really. These prickly mammals belong to different orders, classes, families, and species. Hence, they cannot breed to produce viable offspring.

Is A Porcupine Bigger Than A Hedgehog?

Absolutely. Porcupine tends to weigh about 15 kg while hedgehog weighs about 1kg. Hence, a hedgehog is relatively smaller than a porcupine.

Can Hedgehogs Hurt You?

The quills on the animal are quite sharp. But picking up the hedgehog won’t hurt since they have poor eyesight. However, moving fast and jerky might make the animal feel threatened to force them to attack.

Do Hedgehogs Bite You?

Hedgehog does not bite. The animals can form an excellent companion hence suitable for petting. If you are looking for an exotic pet then a hedgehog is the right deal.

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Is Porcupine Poisonous?

Not really. But in some situations, quilled animals may or may not die. We recommend seeking medical attention in case your pet is quilled. The good news is that the quills from porcupines are not poisonous.

Can You Cuddle With A Hedgehog?

Yes. But remember to wash your hands with running water. Never kiss or snuggle a hedgehog. Kissing or snuggling could facilitate the spread of Salmonella germs that will make you sick.

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Summary

These animals have quills or spines on their body. But they are quite different in terms of species. Hedgehogs are smaller than porcupines.

The good news is that hedgehogs are friendlier than porcupines. They can be bred as pets but never snuggle them.

The porcupine quills are not poisonous but a quilled pet should seek medical attention immediately. This will help to relieve the pain and foster faster healing of the damaged tissues.

More Sources and References

Hedgehog. African Wildlife Federation

North American Porcupine. Nature Work