- The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids

8 Animals That Use Spikes and Spines as Tools

3. The North American Porcupine Has 30,000 Quills

Category: Defense

30,000 quills. That’s a scary amount of possibly painful meetings. When the North American porcupine is attacked, it swipes at its attacker with its tail. And it’s covered with up to 30,000 quills! But the porcupine goes one further. The 2.7 inches (7 cm) long quills on its tail aren’t just horribly pointy and sharp, but also have nasty barbs on them. Ouch!

North American Porcupine North American Porcupine - Photo: A_Lein/Shutterstock

4. Old World Porcupines Are Enough to Make Even Lions Cry

Category: Defense

When threatened, the African porcupine swings its tail at its attacker, which has 13.7 inches (35 cm) long quills with nasty barbs. Its attacks cause painful, festering wounds. Believe it or not, it’s not uncommon for big, powerful animals like lions to die of these wounds.

Old World Porcupine Old World Porcupine - Photo: Martin Maritz/Shutterstock

5. The hedgehog Has a Feathery Pincushion

Category: Defense

For a hedgehog, spines are like life insurance. When it rolls up into a ball, it doesn’t just protect itself from predators, but also falls. But hedgehogs don’t climb often.

Igel Igel - Photo: Mr. SUTTIPON YAKHAM/Shutterstock

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