Are Hedgehogs and Porcupines Related?
Both these spiny animals have similar features, which often lead to the confusion of their relation. So, the question comes to mind, “Are hedgehogs and porcupines related?”
Hedgehogs and porcupines are separate species and therefore not directly related. However, they belong to the same family – the Erinaceidae, which also includes moonrats and gymnures.
The main difference between them is their defense mechanism:
- Hedgehog – has 5,000 spines that are stiff and sharp that can easily puncture the skin.
- Porcupine – has over 30,000 quills that are softer and blunt, helping them lodge into predator’s skin and flatten out when touched.
Hedgehogs are found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Porcupines are mostly found in Africa and parts of South America.
Both hedgehogs and porcupines are omnivores, but the porcupine has a much broader diet. Besides eating fruit, nuts, and leaves, it will also feed on bird eggs, insects, small reptiles, and even carcasses. The hedgehog mainly eats insects, worms, and snails.
So, whilst these two animals are members of the same family, they are not directly related. Hedgehogs and porcupines have different defense and diet mechanisms which makes them unique from one another.