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National Wildlife Control Training Program vol. 1.

Porcupine Control

Scientific Name: Erethizon dorsatum Porcupine, Erethizon dorsatum. Photo by NebraskaLand Mag.

Photo Credits: NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Photo


  • Can climb
  • Does not hibernate
  • Lives in dry land
  • Is nocturnal
  • Dens will be used for years.


Porcupine skull ventral viewA Ventral View
Description: This shows the unusual cusp pattern on the teeth. Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow



Porcupine skull. Photo by Dallas VirchowA Porcupine skull.
Description: Similar to a beaver skull but less massive.
Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow



  • tree deformation via bark removal;

Porcupine tree damagePorcupine damage
Description: Ponderosa Pine bark is removed.
Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow

Porcupine tree damage to barkAn old scar left by porcupine gnawing
Description: A complete debarking around a limb can kill it.
Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow

  • Porcupines also damage plywood, leather goods; grains, alfalfa, sweet corn. Items impregnated with salt are particularly at risk.

Control Methods

Habitat Modification

  • Fencing may prove effective.
  • Removal of caves and rock piles where porcupines like to live.
  • No known trees that are avoided by a hungry porcupine.

Frightening Devices

None known to be effective


  • Certain wood-preservatives have been found to stop the gnawing of porcupines.


  • Body grip, footholds and cage traps.
  • Due to their low mobility, set location is critical.


  • Porcupines are slow moving and easily shot.



  • Porcupines do NOT throw their quills.
  • Pets that tangle with porcupines can suffer terribly from the quills. We have heard that the best way to remove quills is to cut the tips first to let out the air which will collapse the quill allowing for easier removal. We would welcome further input on this. The quills have microscopic barbs on the tips.


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