Defensive behaviour displays in a porcupine depend on sight, scent and sound. Often, displays are shown when a porcupine becomes agitated or annoyed. There are four main displays seen in a porcupine which are quill erection, teeth clattering, emitting of odour, and attack. These displays are ranked from least aggressive to most aggressive respectively. A porcupine's colouring aids in part of its defence as most of the predators are nocturnal and colour blind. A porcupine's markings are black and white. The dark body and coarse hair of the porcupine are a dark brown/black and when quills are raised, present a white strip down its back mimicking the look of a skunk. This, along with the raising of the sharp quills, deters predators. Along with the raising of the quills, porcupines clatter their teeth causing warning noise to let predators know not to come closer. The incisors vibrate against each other, the strike zone shifts back and the cheek teeth clatter. This behaviour is often paired with body shivering which is used to further display the dangerous quills. The rattling of quills is aided by the hollow quills at the back end of the porcupine. The use of odor is when the sight and sound have failed. An invasive scent is produced from the skin above the tail in times of stress, and is often seen with quill erection. If the above processes fail, the porcupine will attack by running sideways or backwards into predators. A porcupines tail is also able to swing in the direction of the predator. If contact is made, the quills could be impaled into the predator causing injury or death.
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