The tree porcupine is one of the largest rodents in North America. They are distributed throughout Canada and much of America.

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The tree porcupine is a heavy, stout animal growing to be 10-20 lbs or even larger. Their entire body is covered with quills which can number over 20,000. Only the face, under body and under the tail will remain quill free.

PORCUPINE EATING BIRCH TREEAlthough quills can dislodge easily, porcupines cannot “throw”  them 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 time after time for the same treatment following a bite.

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’re able to reproduce.



Although porcupines are great tree climbers and can live on several species of trees, they seem to prefer, white, birch, ponderosa, pinion, hemlock, spruce, elm and poplar. When living in the woods and feeding on wild trees, porcupines go unnoticed. Since they do most of their feeding at night, many people aren’t aware of how many may be living around their homes. But this is rapidly changing as they conflict more and more with man.



Porcupine tree damage

As homes are 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. Porcupines are creatures of habit and will use the same feeding runs night after night.

More importantly, the kind of damage they typically do to a tree is significant and will quickly cause stress making it vulnerable to disease. If you have a stand of trees you are particularly fond of and want to assess the damage being done, use STRESS GLASSES to monitor their status. These unique eye glasses enable you to “see” the health of 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.

Plant Stress Glasses






Porcupine damage to homes, structures and garden areas is on the rise. Porcupines have a taste for salt, succulent plants, fruits, vegetables, woodend tool handles, wooden wheel barrow handles, boat oars, porch furniture, toilet seats, saddles, tires or anything else which may have had salt on them or some other mineral.

Wooden tool handles absorb salt from sweat which is certain to attract feeding porcupines. Automobile tires which travel 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 find it and start feeding!



Because porcupines primarily target 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. Here is frass seen around a beach tree a porcupine has targeted for dinner.


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 pattern, you must nip new damage and force them to move or else it will just continue on and one. This can be done by either removing the food 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. But structures and trees which are permanent present a challenge when repelling porcupines.



Pest Rid SprayThe sides of buildings, sheds, large wooden furniture and other large objects not easy to move can be treated with PEST RID SPRAY. This liquid repellent has very little odor to people but to animals, its repulsive. Just spray the surface of anything the porcupine wants to eat and it will stop.

Pest Rid treatments will last 2-4 weeks per application and can withstand normal rainfall. Generally, one application will force the porcupine to find another food supply so it will leave. Pest Rid can be sprayed on plants too as well as where they’re trailing, tracking, etc. The quart size will cover up to 125 sq/ft; gallons will cover 500 sq/ft. Its ready to use so no mixing is needed.





If you get the gallon size, you’ll need a good PUMP SPRAYER to 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.

Treatments will last several months and keep targeted animals from wanting to walk where its applied. For porcupines, there are two places you can apply it for fast protection.

First, use it on any tree you want to keep from being eaten. Simply treat the trunk from the ground up to at least 6 feet  high. 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.

1 Gallon will cover up to 1000 sq/ft and treatments will last 3-6 months. Keep in mind the treatment will be visible and messy so its not suggested for homes or surfaces you want to keep looking good “cosmetically”. But for tree houses, tree trunks, deer stands, etc., its a good long lasting protective treatment that hold off damage.

4-The Birds Gel





Apply it with a paint brush or the PUMP SPRAYER listed above.



Ultimately, live trapping porcupines is one sure way to control the problem for good. And its easy. All you need to is to know where  they’re active. Once you find damage on your building, garden or other areas in the yard, set the trap where they are feeding.

Use a LT111230RD which is plenty big for any porcupine. 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.

Live Trap 11x12x30





When your nuisance porcupine comes around for their daily meal, they won’t be able to resist your tasty offering. If you intend on relocating the animal, you’ll need to take it at least 20 miles away. Porcupines are used to traveling many miles to find food and their “GPS” skills are quite good. If you suspect a recently trapped animal has returned, you will be able to catch it again and take it at least 30 miles away to insure it won’t return.



Lastly, another way to prevent porcupines from coming around is to install YARD GARDS aimed at wood or trees they target. This unit comes with an AC Adaptor and can be set to be “on” continuously. Use this setting for initial placements until you’re sure nothing is active. The sounds won’t hurt them or other animals but its annoying and “scary” to animals who don’t live on the property. One machine can cover up to 3,500 sq/ft of open area and they should be placed 3-5 feet up off the ground to allow sound waves open air channels.





Porcupines are best known for their problematic quills and though not perceived to be a threat around the home, they can cause a lot of damage in the yard. If you have a nuisance porcupine chewing up your tires, trees, outside furniture or yard tools, try Pest Rid spray to stop them. If this doesn’t work, live trap them or install some Yard Gards.


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Comments on PORCUPINE CONTROL Leave a Comment

June 3, 2013

Carol Leavitt @ 12:23 pm #


Where do I get Ropel to try and get rid of Porcupine’s that are eating at the siding on my garage?

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