The porcupine is a solitary animal in the summer but during the winter several individuals may gather together. It does not hibernate but, during the coldest winter months, it reduces its activity and spends a lot of time in its burrow.
Their quills, which are hollow, help make them buoyant in the water, so that they can reach aquatic plants.
The feeding habits of the North American porcupine are detrimental to trees, as it removes large sections of bark and consumes the terminal shoots. Unfortunately, this reduces their chances of survival because, over time, these wounds promote the death of the trees.
Porcupines have a keen sense of hearing and smell. They are largely nocturnal.
They can often be seen along roadsides, particularly where salt has been spread.