North American porcupine

Urson ( Erethizon dorsatum )

The Urson ( Erethizon dorsatum ), which is often referred to as a tree porcupine or a North American porcupine, a rodent of the family of porcupines is ( Erethizontidae ). It is the largest and most well-known representative of his family and is found mainly in Canada and the northern and western United States.


The Urson weighs up to one meter long (of which 14-30 cm tail) and 18 kg, so it is, according to the beaver, the second- largest rodent in North America. Overall, he looks stocky, arms and legs are very short, the tail is short and thick. The coat consists of a dense undercoat and long outer coat, which has a yellowish or brown to black color. Also on the back and tail are numerous ( some 30,000 ) spines, which are equipped with small barbs and about 2 mm thick and can be 7.5 cm long. They are used for defense.


The habitat extends across the northern and western United States and Canada, such as Denali National Park.

Way of life

If danger of loss Urson usually tries to go to the attacker out of the way and escape to a tree. If this is not possible, he is reluctant, hitting his tail like a club. This can its spines, which are anchored only loosely in the skin, hanging in the flesh of the enemy stay and drill deeper into the body with every movement. Sometimes these spines can pass even migrate through the body. Originally Urson was a forest animal, lately it is also eaten frequently in cultural landscapes. The Urson is a tree dweller who on the floor slow and sluggish moves on trees but can climb well and safely. He is a loner who is nocturnal and day-time hiding in tree niches, caves or rock crevices. Its diet consists of leaves, leaves, shoots, bark and berries. In the winter he gnawed the bark of the tree on which he wintered, often so strong that it dies. Before mating, which takes place in the fall or early winter, the male sprays the female with strong -smelling urine. In the spring, only one young is born.

Urson and people

In its distribution area of ​​Urson by some people is considered a nuisance because it can strongly pull trees affected. The spines are used by the Indians for decorating baskets and clothing. Since Ursons only move slowly on the ground, set cars pose a danger if they cross roads. Nevertheless they are considered safely.