May 3, 1805, near the mouth of the Porcupine (now Poplar) River, Montana.
Large, chunky body, with short legs. Long guard hairs on front half of body; black or brown in the East, yellowish in the West. Quills on rump and tail. Length: 26–37 in (65–93 cm); tail: 5.9–11.8 in (14.8–30 cm). Weight: 7.8–40 lb (3.5–18 kg).
Deciduous, coniferous, and mixed forests; also, in West, dry, scrubby areas with scattered trees.
Most of Canada and western U.S. south to Mexico; in East, south to Wisconsin, northern half of Michigan, and most of Pennsylvania, New York, and New England.
The common porcupine has about 30,000 quills on its body, which it uses to defend itself against more agile predators.