The tree porcupine is one of the largest rodents in North America. They are distributed throughout Canada and much of America. Some southeastern and southwestern states don’t have any at this time, but the rest of the country share the same species.
The tree porcupine is heavy, growing to be 10-20 lbs or even bigger depending on diet. Their entire body is covered with quills which can number over 20,000. Only the face, under body and under the tail don’t have any. Although the quills can dislodge easily, porcupines cannot “throw” quills at will. They generally take a defensive stand daring predators to bite knowing their quills will protect them. In some cases, they may lunge, but porcupines are not swift nor do they pretend to be. If you get too close, they may slap their tail, but in general will leave you alone unless antagonized. Their quills are a problem for animals which are stuck and don’t receive medical attention. Such areas will get infected quickly and such infections will lead to many types of disease. In the wild, many animals which receive quills in their mouth are unable to eat and will eventually starve. Dogs which try to bite will find out porcupines aren’t good eating, but only a few seem to learn from their experience. Most which get a mouthful don’t seem to learn. It’s not unusual to see them back at the vet’s some time in the future.
Porcupines have one litter in the spring. They almost always have one young and twins are very rare. Their gestation is long for a rodent, about seven months. Young porcupines can walk almost immediately and will climb trees within two days. At ten days, most are on their own. By their second year, they are able to reproduce.
Although porcupines are great tree climbers and can live on several species of trees, they seem to prefer, white, ponderosa, pinion, hemlock, spruce, elm and poplar. When living in the woods and feeding on wild trees, porcupines go mainly unnoticed. Since they do most of their feeding at night, many people aren’t even aware of how many may be living around their homes. However, this is rapidly changing.
PORCUPINE DAMAGE TO TREES
As more and more homes are being built in wild areas with strong populations of animals including porcupine, conflict between them and man is inevitable. If you are finding damage on your property, you will need to act fast. And if the damage is happening to a tree, remember that it doesn’t take long for most any tree to become stressed and vulnerable. If you have a stand of trees you are particularly fond of and want to make sure they are OK, use some STRESS GLASSES to monitor their status. These unique eye glasses enable you to “see” plant life like trees, turf and or shrubs that are under stress. They can really help you locate, treat and save trees which are under attack before it’s too late to save them.
PORCUPINE DAMAGE ANYTHING MADE OF WOOD
Porcupine damage to homes, structures and garden areas is increasing. Porcupines have a taste for salt, succulent plants, fruits, vegetables, tool handles, wooden wheel barrow handles, boat oars, porch furniture, toilet seats, saddles, tires or anything else which may have had salt on them. Wooden tool handles absorb salt from sweat which is certain to attract feeding porcupines. Any automobile which travels on salted roads in the winter will be absorbing a lot of this mineral which will lure porcupines to feed on the tasty tread. Saddles used by equestrians are certain to be eaten if left within range. T-111 wood siding, plywood and pressboard all use a laminate glue which porcupines love! They will eat it till nothing is left. As much as you replace, they will consume. Tree houses, hunting stands, out houses, sheds, barns, wood shops: If it’s made of wood they will eat it!!!
PORCUPINES ALSO EAT PLANTS
Because porcupines eat primarily wood, most people are unaware how much they like succulent plants. Porcupines love rose bushes, pansies, lily pads, all types of berries, corn, and several other garden favorites. Rabbits and deer are often blamed for this damage when many times it is being done by porcupines. Since they are mostly nocturnal, they are able to go about their business undetected but if you notice a lot of shavings or “frass” under a newly damaged tree, it could be from a porcupine.
Porcupine control is done in one of two ways. Once you find activity, it is important to stop it early. Porcupines will travel several miles for a meal, but once they find a good place to feed, they will eat everything available before they move on. Because of this nature, you must nip it in the bud. This can be done by either removing the item they want to feed on or by making it taste terrible so they simply leave it alone. Tools, yard furniture and small wooden objects can usually be removed so porcupines will not have access to them.
PORCUPINE CONTROL SPRAY
Sides of buildings, sheds, large wooden furniture and other such objects are not easy to move and so they need to be treated with ROPEL. This liquid repellent has no smell. It simply tastes terrible. Just spray some on the surface of anything the porcupine wants to eat and it will immediately stop. Ropel lasts around 2 weeks to a month per application and will withstand rain. Generally, one application will force the porcupine to find some other food supply so that it will leave you alone. Ropel can be sprayed on plants without hurting it or the produce. However, don’t spray the part you want to eat as the taste will surely ruin the best harvest! You may spray plants early in the growing season as Ropel will wear off in about 4 weeks. Allow this much time for “days to harvest”. Ropel works best when applied early. If you have been attacked by porcupines for several months or over a period of years, you may have to resort to trapping them to gain control of the problem.
PORCUPINE CONTROL REPELLENT SPRAY
Another liquid repellent which works great at keeping them away is LIQUID BIRD REPELLENT. This is a material which was created for keeping flocks of nuisance birds like pigeons or starlings from roosting in trees. It can be painted or sprayed on trees creating a surface which is both very sticky and irritating. This surface will last several months and keep any targeted animal from wanting to walk where it is applied. For porcupines, there are two places you can apply it. First, use it on any tree you want to keep from being eaten. Simply treat the trunk from the ground up 6 feet. Be sure to go all the way around the tree. The following evening when the feeding porcupine arrives it will quickly find the tree to be something it won’t be able to climb. The animal will have to travel else where for food and soon forget your tree even exists.
You can also apply this liquid around foundations, posts or siding where they have been climbing to access wood on your home. Again, once they will quickly learn they can’t take the treatment and will move on to find food elsewhere. You can paint the treatment over surfaces you want to protect but it will probably be easier to spray it on with one of our SPRAYERS. There is no need to make the product overly thick and the most important thing to accomplish is a uniform application. Check it at least every couple of days for the first week following the treatment to make sure it is holding up well and generally after a week of being in place any feeding porcupines will move on. However, if you have too many access points and too many food choices, repellents may not be an option. If the use of repellents will not be productive, you will have no choice but to do some trapping.
PORCUPINE CONTROL LIVE TRAPS
Live trapping porcupines is easy. All you need to do is establish where they are active. Once you find damage on your building, garden or other areas in your yard, set the trap where they are feeding. Use a LT111230RD or the LT111236RD. Use apples covered with salt for a quick catch. Cut the apple up into 8 pieces and then place 2 outside the trap, 2 pieces just inside and then the other 4 pieces behind the trip pan. Be sure to use a lot of salt over the freshly cut apples. The moisture of the apple will keep the salt attached to the fruit.
When your nuisance porcupine comes around for their daily meal, they won’t be able to resist this tasty treat. If you intend on relocating the animal, you will need to take it at least 20 miles away. Porcupines are used to traveling many miles in search of food and their homing skills are quite good. If you suspect a recently trapped animal has returned, you will be able to catch it again. This time take it 30 miles away to insure it won’t return
PORCUPINE CONTROL SOUND DEVICES
Lastly, to prevent anymore porcupines from coming around, install YARD GARDS aimed at any wood they might target. This unit comes with an AC Adaptor and can be set “on” continuously. Use this setting for initial placements until you’re sure nothing is coming around. Be aware this unit will be making a sound people can hear and though it won’t be dangerous to hear, the sound can be annoying. For hunting or vacation cabins out in the woods that will be abandoned with no one around, keeping the unit constantly running shouldn’t be a problem for anyone. But if you’re trying to deter porcupines from house that’s occupied, the sound could be an issue. If that’s the case, use the live trap and keep relocating nuisance animals if ultrasound won’t be a viable option.
Porcupines are best known for their quills. However, their wood eating habits are getting them a bad reputation. If you have a nuisance porcupine chewing up your tires, furniture or tools, try Ropel to stop them. If this doesn’t work, live trap them. Once relocated far enough away, they won’t be able to eat their way into your home.