While a few mammals, like the Northern short-tailed shrew and male platypus, can produce venom, porcupines are not poisonous or venomous. Instead, this animal has a different, unique protection against predators.
A Question of Quills
Unlike the short, rounded spikes of a hedgehog, porcupine quills are long and light. They are not deeply rooted in the skin, so losing quills does not harm the animal. However, a dog who tangles with a porcupine often ends up learning a painful lesson thanks to a muzzle-full of sharp spines.
Porcupines cannot shoot quills from their bodies but will shake themselves in order to dislodge spikes when close to a threat. Cornered porcupines will stamp and growl. Their main form of attack is either pressing their quills into an enemy or using their tails as clubs.
Are Porcupine Quills Poisonous?
These thin spines are painful for any creature that gets too close. In some cases, dogs, badgers, and foxes impaled by these spikes have died due to their injuries. While porcupine quills are not poisonous, only a doctor or veterinarian should attempt to remove them.
Quills have barbs that cannot be seen by the naked eye. These barbs make removal painful and tricky. Broken quills can become embedded and migrate within the skin, causing infection and scarring if not properly treated.
Even though porcupines are not venomous and their quills are not poisonous, concerned homeowners should contact the wildlife experts at Critter Control for proper handling and safe, humane removal.