Last Reviewed and Updated on July 29, 2022
Both porcupines and hedgehogs are prickly animals, both having their bodies covered with many sharp needle-like quills. Are porcupines and hedgehogs related? What are the similarities between the two species, and how are they different from one another? Let’s take a closer look.
Porcupines are one of the world’s largest and longest-living rodents. They have coats made of thousands of sharp needles that protect them from their predators, needles that detach when they are touched. These animals can be found in parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, and South America.
The term porcupine refers to two families of animals: the new world porcupines and the old world porcupines. There are quite a few similarities between the two, but they are still quite a few differences between them, and they aren’t exactly closely related.
Also read: facts about porcupines.
Hedgehogs are spiky mammals from the Erinaceidae family. These animals are covered with many sharp spines that aren’t detachable. The purpose of the spikes is defensive.
Hedgehogs can be found throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. They can also be found in New Zealand by introduction.
Also read: facts about hedgehogs
Are porcupines and hedgehogs related?
Hedgehogs and porcupines aren’t members of the same family or even order, which means the species aren’t even closely related.
These two species are a wonderful example of convergent evolution, an evolution where two or more animals that aren’t related evolve very similar characteristics separately. But besides their looks, they don’t really have much in common.
Hedgehogs are closely related to shrews and moles, who also aren’t rodents.
A porcupine, on the other hand, is more closely related to mice, rats, and beavers.
Their last common ancestor lived about 85 million years ago. In fact, hedgehogs are more closely related to a hippopotamus than they are to the porcupine.