Porcupines are a rodent that are common throughout Red Deer County. Porcupines are active year round and are primarily nocturnal. The diet of the porcupine changes seasonally. In summer they primarily eat roots, berries, seeds and vegetation, while in winter they feed mainly on twigs and the bark of trees. Porcupines have bright orange iron rich teeth that are constantly growing, as such they are always on the lookout for something to hone their teeth on.
Porcupines often will feed heavily on a single tree leaving damaging gashes and occasionally girdling the tree which will eventually lead to its death. Watch for bark stripped off trees and willows high off the ground, damage closer to the ground is more likely to be from deer, mice or rabbits.
Here are a few options to protect your trees from porcupine damage:
- Aluminum flashing can be placed around the trunk of individual trees.
- Orchards and backyards can be fenced off.
- There are repellents available such as skoot that may help to deter porcupines.
- You can trap porcupines in a live trap using bait such as salt soaked leather, wood, or vegetables. Relocate the animal to a remote area.
- Shooting a porcupine can be used as a measure to permanently remove the nuisance