Contrary to what many think, porcupines aren't out to shoot their quills into humans and pets to wreak havoc just for fun. As a matter of fact, porcupines can't actually shoot their quills out but if you (or your dog) touch one or brush up against one, you're going to have a very bad day.

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I was out for a walk with my family and our dog a few nights ago when we spotted our neighborhood porcupine. It was the first time that I'd seen the animal since we got our dog a few months ago and immediately, my thoughts went to making sure to keep our very curious pup away from it and also if the porcupine was the one who gnawed on my garden rake handle.

Traci Taylor
Traci Taylor

Pet owners should always be on the lookout for porcupines all year long, especially at night when they're most active. Curious dogs can't help but sniff out the creature, so if you're out for a walk in an area where porcupines have been spotted, keep your dog on a leash.

Porcupines are herbivores and love the taste of inner tree bark, stems, and leaves. Sometimes they'll also chew on things like wooden cabins and houses, tires, garden hoses, and yes, tool handles like my garden rake, which can cause a problem.

What should you do if you have a problem with a porcupine eating things it shouldn't be or getting into places it should be? Well, it depends on the situation.

What To Do if a Porcupine Is Aggressive or Acting Strangely?

Just as the porcupine I spotted on my walk shuffled away from my family as we drew near, most all other animals will do the same and although you might be tempted to get up close and personal with wildlife, you should keep your distance because wildlife can be very unpredictable. If you've got a porcupine on your property that is acting strange or aggressive, do not try to help it. Instead, call your local animal control.

How To Get a Porcupine Out From Under a Shed or House

You might think that a little porcupine under your shed or house is no big deal but not only could the animal be eating away at the structure but their quills pose a problem to you and your animals. To get a porcupine out, seal off all but one entry point. Sprinkle flour on the ground and when you see that the porcupine has left, close the entrance with bricks, wood, or even hardware cloth.

How To Protect Trees and Shrubs From Porcupines

Because porcupines like the taste of wood, it shouldn't surprise you that if you have a tree or shrub that calls to them, they will attempt to eat it. The best way to deal with this is to fence your trees and shrubs. Maybe not all of them, but at least the ones that you really like and want to keep safe from porcupines. Your local home improvement store will be able to help you pick out the right type of fencing to wrap around your trees or shrubs.

How To Protect Vehicles (and Tires) From Porcupines

Porcupines love the taste of anything salty so if you haven't washed your car lately, you might want to. Salt from the road on your tires, brake lines, fuel lines, and more is so tasty to porcupines. If you can, park in a garage or you might want to construct a makeshift fence like hikers in Canada do.

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