Porcupine of the Pacific Northwest

A North American porcupine on a branch

Although porcupines may be slowpokes, most other animals know to keep a wide berth from those sharp quills! The porcupine's prickly self defense mechanism makes it easily recognizable, however their vital importance in the ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest is often less known. Porcupines are intertwined with healthy forest lifecycles, turning trees into critical habitat for dozens of other species. Aside from the quills, they also have many other valuable physical characteristics, allowing them to be true adventurers of every elevation of a forest. Biologist Cara Appel from Oregon State University uncovered the mysteries and stories surrounding porcupines in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.