How to Get Rid of Porcupines in Yard

It is my goal to educate the public about porcupines and other wildlife, and provide tips for safe, effective, and responsible wildlife removal.

HUMANE HINTS: In some cases, you don't need to remove porcupines at all - just leave them alone! Spray very hot sauce, like capsaicin, on plants. Install barriers around plants. NEVER attempt to poison porcupines. Read below for how-to hints.

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How to Get Rid of Porcupines - Porcupines are prickly mammals that are native to the North American continent. They are well known for their appearance, but in case you don’t know, porcupines are about the size of a medium-sized dog and are dark brown or black in color. Porcupines are furry creatures but are armed with an arsenal of 3000+ quills that line their back, heads, tail and sides that come off easily in your skin if you anger them. However, porcupines are solitary creatures and are content to leave you alone. The only time you have to worry about you, your kids or your pets being attack by one is if you scare them or try to catch them.

With that being said, even though porcupines are slow moving and like to be left alone, they can be a really big problem. Porcupines like to eat plants which can be really annoying if you have a vegetable garden or try to keep flowers. Porcupines will devour all the vegetation in your yard and can even kill trees by stripping the bark off of the bottom of the trunk and eating the roots. Porcupines are also addicted to salty things, so if you have tools, gloves, clothes or anything you could have gotten sweat on, porcupines will chew up. These critters have super strong jaws and can mangle your tools, believe it or not. If you have porcupine problems, try some of these suggestions to get rid of them.

  • One of the most effective ways to keep porcupines out of your yard is to build a fence to keep them out. This is not the cheapest route to take however. Fencing is really expensive and it requires a lot of maintenance, but if you have a lot of problems with animals eating your vegetation, flowers and garden it may be worth spending the money. Not to mention that it makes your yard look nice. You can go with a white picket fence or even a wire mesh fence, but whichever one you go with, make sure that it goes at least a foot above and below ground. This keeps animals from burrowing underneath or jumping over the fence.
  • Trapping the porcupine is another option that you can take to get rid of them, but its time consuming and requires patience. You can get traps at most hardware or garden stores and some animal control officers will either let you rent one or will come out and set the traps themselves. Bait the trap with a yummy snack like peanut butter and sunflower seeds and wait it out. Make sure you wash the trap with soap before you set it and wear latex gloves so you don’t leave your scent on it. Check the trap everyday and once you catch it, relocate it to a nice park or wooded area that is at least 10 miles away from your house.
  • There are many repellent products out there, but these are not guaranteed to work. You can try predator scent like coyote or fox but you constantly have to reapply it to keep it fresh and the porcupine will probably figure it out that it’s not real. You can also use an ultrasonic emitter to keep them away, but again this is not 100% certain to work. There are also water repellent systems like motion activated sprinkler systems that will spray the porcupine if it comes close to the place where you set it up.
  • If all else fails, or you do not want to deal with the hassle of getting rid of the porcupines yourself, CALL A PROFESSIONAL!

More in-detail how-to porcupine removal articles:

Information about porcupine trapping - analysis and methods for how to trap.
Information about how to kill a porcupine - with poison or other methods.
Information about how to keep porcupines away - prevention techniques.
Information about how to catch a porcupine - remove one stuck in the house.
Information about porcupine repellent - analysis of types and effectiveness.

Porcupine Information & Facts

Porcupine Appearance: Porcupines are large rodents. They are covered from head to toe in sharp, hair-like quills. The undercoat of this animal is usually dark brown, and the outer coat of barbs is lighter, giving the porcupine a frosted look. These quills are modified pieces of hair covered with a thick layer of keratin. Porcupines are not able to project their barbs any length of distance. They have a hunched posture, mostly due to their long back legs and shorter front ones. They generally weigh about twenty pounds and can grow to be three feet long. Like all rodents, porcupines have continually growing teeth.

Porcupine Habitat and Behavior: Porcupines are nocturnal and make their homes in rocky areas for daytime slumber. Some porcupines live in trees in regions where rocks are not abundant. The rodent is almost always found in a forested area, though the type of tree coverage may vary. A sure sign of a porcupine den is the pile of feces at the entrance of the cave or tree hollow. Porcupines do not hibernate, though they will remain inactive for long periods of poor weather. Cold weather will often drive this solitary creature to shared den sites with others of its kind.

Female porcupines give birth to a single baby after an elaborate mating display by the male. This display is much like a dance, and is only performed by the winning male if a fight over the female was initiated. At its conclusion, the porcupine dance involves the male spraying urine over the female’s head. During the mating session, both male and female porcupines will flatten their quills against their bodies to prevent injury to one another. The female porcupine will give birth to the baby seven months after the mating ritual. The baby porcupine is born with soft quills. The special hair fibers harden after only an hour past birth. The infant will remain with the mother for a period of six months while it learns the basic necessities of porcupine life.

Interestingly enough, porcupines have antibiotic properties within their skin. This adaptation is to prevent accidental infection if the porcupine is stuck with its own quills. Often found in trees, these rodents frequently fall from trunks, landing on quills that have fallen out during the process.

Porcupine Diet: Porcupines are primarily herbivores. They feed on the soft layer of bark on trees, as well as sticks and other types of forage. They enjoy carrots and other root vegetables. On rare occasions, porcupines will feed on carrion, but usually only if food is scarce.

Porcupine Nuisance Concerns: The porcupine is not a deliberate nuisance to humans. It is the destructive nature of this rodent and the unappealing thought of quill exposure that warrants humans requesting little contact with the animal. A porcupine is likely to create a den in any area it feels is secure, and this list includes the underside of decks, sheds, garages, and other outbuildings. The desire to eat is what ultimately makes homeowners dislike this large rodent. A porcupine can strip a bark off a tree and kill it. This is particularly troublesome because porcupines prefer trees with smooth bark—as most decorative trees and shrubs have. Landscape damage caused by these animals can cost thousands of dollars to repair. Porcupines do also pose a serious threat for pets, especially dogs. Quills are painful and difficult to remove from the flesh of an afflicted house pet. Cats do not harass porcupines the way dogs do, and once a dog has tangled with this particular rodent, a costly veterinarian bill is sure to follow.

Porcupine Diseases: The porcupine is remarkably resistant to many diseases, most likely due to its limited interaction with other animals. Though rare, porcupines have been known to carry rabies. The biggest threat concerning these animals is with the physical damage to other creatures caused by their protective layer of sharp quills.

This site is intended to provide porcupine education and information, so that you can make an informed decision if you need to deal with a porcupine problem. This site provides many porcupine control articles and strategies, if you wish to attempt to solve the problem yourself. If you are unable to do so, which is likely with many cases of porcupine removal, please go to the home page and click the USA map, where I have wildlife removal experts listed in over 500 cites and towns, who can properly help you with your nuisance porcupine.

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