Many porcupines live in trees. Other porcupines find refuge in caves, hollow logs and old buildings. The North American porcupine lives in Canadian and Northern American and Mexican woods and grasslands. Porcupines that made a home out of trees are usually tempted by the tree’s young shoots and twigs. Some of them prefer to live on trees to avoid their natural predators. Porcupines are known to climb tress at the first sign of danger. This is because most predators do not know how to climb. Porcupines are well adapted for tree-living as well. Their paws are strong and embedded with curved claws that help them climb trees. Their feet are textured for a better grip on tree branches and trunks. They also have a tail that helps them balance on trees. The porcupine will lift and lower its tail to help it feel its way down a tree. Porcupines have backward-pointing stiff hairs. These bristles help the porcupine to adhere itself on a tree trunk.
Porcupines are also the only North American mammal that has a special antibiotic coating on a layer of its skin. This antibiotic layer prevents possible infection at the event where the porcupine falls from a tree and gets pierced by his own quills as it hits the ground. Accidents of these kinds are rather typical for the average tree-dwelling porcupines. Porcupines have poor eyesight but their acute sense of smell and hearing makes up for this short-coming.
Only 3 North American mammals have eye catching black and white coats—the skunk and wolverine and the porcupine. Due to their well-equipped defense mechanism, they have nothing to fear—giving away their position—even in the darkness of nighttime. Many predators know better than to approach a porcupine. An attack from a porcupine is really painfully and can be potentially fatal. Natural predators may try to strike the porcupine’s face to surprise or injure them. Next, they will spin them to their vulnerable unquilled underside. Predators who do so run the risk of being heavily quilled by the porcupine. The quills are very long, sharp and barbed so they are very difficult to remove.