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Porcupines vs. Hedgehogs: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on June 16, 2024
Porcupines are large, slow-moving rodents with long quills, while hedgehogs are small, insectivorous mammals with short, spiny coats.

Key Differences

Porcupines are rodents known for their long, sharp quills that can detach when threatened, found in America, Europe, and Asia. Hedgehogs, smaller in size, have short spines covering their back, which are not detachable, and are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Porcupines are generally larger and heavier than hedgehogs, with some species weighing over 15 kg. Hedgehogs are much smaller, usually weighing less than 2 kg, making them more petite in comparison.
The diet of a porcupine mainly consists of leaves, herbs, twigs, and green plants. Hedgehogs are primarily insectivores, feasting on insects, snails, frogs, and even small snakes.
Porcupines have a more solitary nature and are known for climbing trees. Hedgehogs, on the other hand, are ground-dwelling creatures and are known for their ability to roll into a ball as a defense mechanism.
In terms of habitat, porcupines can be found in various environments including forests, deserts, and grasslands. Hedgehogs prefer gardens, forests, and meadows, often seen in more populated areas.

Comparison Chart

Size and Weight

Larger, some species over 15 kg
Smaller, typically under 2 kg


Long, detachable quills
Short, non-detachable spines


Herbivorous, eats plants and twigs
Insectivorous, eats insects and small animals


Solitary, can climb trees
Ground-dwelling, can roll into a ball


Forests, deserts, grasslands
Gardens, forests, meadows

Porcupines and Hedgehogs Definitions


Porcupines are herbivorous, eating a diet of plants and twigs.
We saw a porcupine foraging for food in the forest.


Hedgehogs are primarily insectivores, feeding on insects and small creatures.
At night, the hedgehog was busy hunting for insects in the garden.


Porcupines inhabit various environments, from forests to grasslands.
In our hike, we encountered a porcupine in the grassland region.


Hedgehogs are known for rolling into a ball as a protective measure.
The hedgehog rolled into a ball, protecting itself with its spines.


Porcupines have detachable quills for protection.
The porcupine's quills were scattered around after it encountered a threat.


Hedgehogs inhabit areas like gardens and forests.
In the garden, we found a hedgehog searching for food.


Porcupines are large rodents with a coat of sharp quills.
The porcupine used its quills as a defense against predators.


Hedgehogs are small mammals with a covering of spines.
The hedgehog curled into a ball when it felt threatened.


Porcupines are solitary and can be arboreal or terrestrial.
A solitary porcupine was spotted climbing a tree to escape danger.


Hedgehogs have non-detachable spines for defense.
Unlike porcupines, the hedgehog's spines stay firmly attached to its body.


Any of various rodents of the family Hystricidae, of Eurasia and Africa, or the family Erethizontidae, of the Americas, having long, sharp, erectile quills.


Any of several small insectivorous mammals of the subfamily Erinaceinae, native to Eurasia and Africa and naturalized in New Zealand, having dense erectile spines covering the back and sides and characteristically rolling into a ball for protection.


Plural of porcupine


Any of several spiny animals, such as the porcupine, that are similar to the hedgehog.


Meat patties rolled in rice and simmered in a tomato sauce


A well fortified military position.


An antisubmarine weapon consisting of several rows of mortar-like dischargers positioned to fire in a circular pattern ahead of a ship.


An obstacle used against tanks and landing craft, consisting of three crossed iron bars welded or bolted together.


Plural of hedgehog


Infl of hedgehog


What are hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs are small mammals with spiny coats and insectivorous diets.

What are porcupines?

Porcupines are large rodents with sharp, detachable quills.

Can porcupine quills harm humans?

Yes, porcupine quills can be painful and harmful if they embed in skin.

How do porcupines defend themselves?

Porcupines use their quills as a defense mechanism, detaching when threatened.

What do porcupines eat?

Porcupines are herbivores, eating plants, twigs, and bark.

Do hedgehogs make good pets?

Hedgehogs can be kept as pets, but they require specific care and attention.

How do hedgehogs protect themselves?

Hedgehogs roll into a ball, using their spines to protect themselves from predators.

Are porcupines social animals?

No, porcupines are generally solitary creatures.

Do hedgehogs have good eyesight?

Hedgehogs have poor eyesight but excellent senses of smell and hearing.

Are hedgehogs nocturnal?

Yes, hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal, active during the night.

Are porcupines good swimmers?

Yes, many porcupine species are good swimmers.

How do porcupines reproduce?

Porcupines mate and give birth to live young, usually one to four babies.

Can hedgehogs be found in urban areas?

Yes, hedgehogs can adapt to urban environments and are often found in gardens.

How do porcupines climb trees?

Porcupines use their strong claws and stiff quills as support to climb trees.

Are hedgehogs solitary animals?

Yes, hedgehogs are typically solitary, except during mating or rearing young.

What is the lifespan of a hedgehog?

Hedgehogs typically live for 4-7 years in the wild.

Where are porcupines found?

Porcupines are found in America, Europe, and Asia, in various environments.

How fast can hedgehogs run?

Hedgehogs can run surprisingly fast, up to about 6 feet per second.

Do porcupines hibernate?

Some species of porcupines hibernate, but it varies by region and species.

Can hedgehogs climb?

Hedgehogs are not adept climbers and are primarily ground-dwelling.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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