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Advice and professional help for porcupine problems.

How to Keep Away Porcupines

Porcupines are unique animals that can be found in many parts of the United States, and although they are not the fastest of animals they do have a unique defense mechanism that makes trapping them quite challenging. These animals are not particularly aggressive and will look to avoid confrontation if possible, but their quills are the problem. These quills cannot be projected at predators as many rumors suggest, but they can be released on contact, and once they are embedded in flesh their sharp barbs will painfully tear the flesh as they are being removed.  

How to Keep Away Porcupines in the Yard
A porcupine in the yard is not something to be alarmed about unless you have a pet outside or unless the porcupine decides to stay in your yard long term. Porcupines are slow-moving, docile creatures that are drawn toward human homes because of food. The porcupine rarely wants to live in the yard, though an abundance of food over an extended period of time may result in permanent residence. It is easy to get a porcupine out of the yard if it has just arrived. Removed whatever drew the porcupine to your property: garbage, pet food, or other edible waste. The wild animal may return for a few days to see if the food has reappeared but once the nutritional benefit is gone the porcupine will move on. To get rid of a porcupine that has been in your yard for a too long, you must trap and remove the animal. The easiest form of trapping is with a cage trap. Bait the trap with salted meat (porcupines love salt!) and place the device near the area you’ve seen the animal. One it has been caught the porcupine can be relocated to a wooded area where it can feed on the bark of trees instead of on cat or dog food. Read more on my detailed how to trap a porcupine page.

How to Keep Away Porcupines in a Tree
Porcupines are usually very content in the forest, eating the bark and buds off of trees. If you have fruit trees in your yard and you live near a wooded lot, you may find yourself fighting a nuisance porcupine. A porcupine that has invaded your yard to eat your trees is not as easily discouraged as the animal that has ventured on to the property to eat pet food. Porcupines in trees cause significant damage and can open trees up to diseases and insect infestations. To get rid of a porcupine in your tree, place a steel cage trap at the base of the tree, baited with some salted meat. Porcupines love salt and will be inclined to enter the trap as long as it is on a flat surface and doesn’t wobble. Captured porcupines are easily relocated into state forest. Their quills provide them with an impressive, natural defense that will allow them to establish a new home without fear of predation.

How to Keep Away Porcupines in the House
A porcupine will not enter a home to live there. The occasional intrusion of this animal into a human house is often because a pet door or open window has given the animal a whiff of pet food or garbage inside the home. Porcupines enjoy pet food and will not think twice about walking through a pet door. These animals have few predators and remain unconcerned about dangerous situations. If you have a porcupine inside your home, trapping the animal in a cage trap is too lengthy a process to attempt. Because porcupines are docile and curl up when threatened, it is easy to pop a thick-sided container over them and slide them across the floor and out the door. It is not true that a porcupine can shoot its quills. These needles will easily detach but will not deliberately fly at you. As with all wild animals, you do need to worry about unnecessary contact. If you feel uncomfortable handling the porcupine, call in a professional to remove the animal.

How to Keep Away Porcupines Outside
A porcupine in your yard is after food. This food can either be something you can pick up—like cat food—or it will be something much more difficult to deal with—like tasty tree bark. Porcupines eat the tender layer of wood beneath bark, causing severe damage to trees and sometimes even killing the large plants. A porcupine outside is not a cause for concern unless you notice it is after the trees on your property or the pet food on your porch. Keep all pet food picked up even when inside. This nuisance animal is known for wandering into homes after the aroma of pet food or garbage. Tree care is harder to prevent. Some homeowners have to install wire fencing around the base of their trees to prevent porcupines from climbing them. Metal plates to prevent climbing too far up the tree can be used, but are not as effective or practical for large trunks. The most effective way to deal with a problem porcupine is to trap and remove the animal. Lethal trapping is not necessary for the docile porcupine. Purchase a cage trap and use bait with high salt content. Once captured the porcupine can be relocated and released into an area with good cover and numerous trees.

How to Keep Away Porcupines Under the Car
A nuisance animal can appear almost anywhere, and a frightened porcupine may seek refuge under the car in your driveway. When frightened, porcupines will look for a tree but if none are to be had they will scurry under anything that might provide shelter. All you need to handle this situation is a long-handled broom. Porcupines are not aggressive unless they are ill so the worst thing that will happen with a healthy animal is it will curl into a ball and try to hold its ground. With some determined, gentle pushing the animal can moved out from under the vehicle. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend nearby, that person can plop a container over the porcupine and guide it to a point where it can easily run into the woods. You should clean up any quills that have fallen into the driveway. Quills will not penetrate a tire but they can be picked up by pets or barefooted children.

Read more on my main how to get rid of porcupines page.

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