Prickly Porcupines: Huge threat to plants, agriculture and humans as well!

With bizarre humanoid ears, dangerous spikes, a rattle like a rattlesnake and enormous teeth with roots that extended back into its skull porcupines are some of the prickliest creatures around!

But there’s a lot more to know about these pokey mammals. Porcupines are one of the longest-living rodents. Porcupines are medium-sized rodents related to beavers, and they are the third-largest rodents on earth. These animals like to hang out in trees as they eat. There are more than two dozen porcupine species and all boast a coat of needle-like quills to give predator a sharp reminder that this animal is no easy meal.

Porcupines are nocturnal. They hide during the daylight but come out at night to feast on a vegetarian diet of berries, stems, grass, and tree-bark. It is tolerant of several different habitats: mountains, tropical and subtropical grasslands, scrublands, and forests. This is a large rodent, growing more than three feet long and weighs 32 pounds. It is covered in multiple layers of quills. The longest quills grow from its shoulders to about a third of the animal’s length.

When irritated or alarmed, the porcupine raises its quills and rattles the hollow spines on its tail. If the disturbance continues, the species launches a backward attack and clashes its rear against the offending animal. This action drives the spines deep into the enemy, often leading to severe injury or death. The majority of the damage is done by the short quills that are hidden beneath the longer, thinner spines on the tail and back. Quite often, these quills become dislodged and remain in the victim. Porcupines are nocturnal, with the species seeking shelter in caves, between rocks, or in its burrow during the day. The burrow is usually self-constructed, with a long entrance tunnel, multiple exits, and a large inner chamber. Gnawed bones and most of the excavated dirt is usually left at the entrance.

The main food source for the porcupine is vegetable material of all kinds, including fruits, grains, and roots. They have also been known to chew on bones, in search of minerals (such as calcium) that help their spines grow. The species utilizes both natural plants and agricultural crops as food sources. The porcupine uses crop plants extensively as a food resource, thus leading to a significant loss of agriculture. In addition, the species can be extremely destructive to gardens and landscaping, as they burrow through or consume the resources in these areas.

Due to a diet low in sodium, porcupines may try to satisfy their dietary need for salt by chewing on wooden structures, tools, and other materials used in outdoor work or recreation. They are attracted to almost any object that has been handled by humans because of the salt found in human sweat.  Porcupines are also attracted to the glue used to bond plywood on wooden structures.  Car tires and hoses may also be chewed on for their mineral content or road salt coating.

The primary conflict with porcupines occurs when a person or pet ignores the warning signals and ends up with quills lodged in their skin. Each porcupine quill has a greasy coating and at the tip is a small, backward projecting barb that serves to work the quills ever deeper into the flesh. Once embedded, quills cannot easily be pulled out.

Serious injuries can result when humans or animals come in contact with a porcupine if the eyes, mouth or throat are afflicted.

The Kashmir valleys have got attacked by the nuisance caused by these pests.

Porcupine invades valley, destroying fields

By Bhushan Parimoo, Apr 19, 2017, The Kashmir monitor

The fields in Kashmir are witnessing attacks by a herbivorous rodent, which, unlike locusts, damages standing crops and moves on. This pest devours above ground as well as below the surface vegetation. It occupies an area permanently, and cause consistent damage to the crops. Academics attribute its presence to climate change, while other schools of thought blame it on destruction of its natural habitat.

Porcupine threaten Kashmir countryside, damage crops

Feb 3 2013, DNA

An explosion in the population of Himalayan porcupines threatens to wreak havoc on the saffron and vegetable crops and fruit trees in Kashmir Valley. Long-time residents say they have no memory of the animal; its sighting is a new phenomenon. Porcupines have a taste for tuber crops like potatoes and also feed on vegetable crops, fruit trees and even the expensive and famous saffron crop. “The animal often debarks fruit trees, destroying them. Villagers who live in foothills are more likely to suffer the vagaries of these animals,” Manzar told IANS. He explained that although there are reports of farmers complaining, the exact extent of the damage caused by this particular rodent has still not been quantified.

So is there any solution for this rodent menace?? Do tedious processes like fumigation and use of traps really help? The reality is that these conventional methods are proving to be ineffective in managing the rodents. So the question is what can be done to prevent further damage from these notorious creatures.

C Tech Corporation can offer a solution to overcome the damage caused by the porcupine.

Combirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous, non-carcinogenic and environmentally safe, anti-rodent additive. It does not kill but repels. It is engineered using a unique set of complex compounds. It follows 6 way strategy which is extremely effective on rodents like porcupine, squirrel, rat, beaver, gopher etc.

The product triggers a fear response in rodents thus protecting the application. It causes severe temporary distress to the mucous membrane of the rodents due to which the pest stays away from the application. The product triggers an unpleasant reaction in case if the pest tries to gnaw away the application. After encountering the above-mentioned emotions, the animal instinctively perceives it with something it should stay away from and stores this information for future reference. The fact that certain rodents are repelled is mimicked by other rodents as well. Thus, the other rodents too stay away from the applications. The unpleasant experience is imprinted within the animal’s memory and passed on to its progeny.

Combirepel™ masterbatch can be incorporated in polymer pipes, irrigation pipes, drip tapes, silage bags, wooden surfaces, agriculture films, mulches etc.

Combirepel™ lacquer is a proper solution as a topical application to apply on fencing of trees, house, lawns etc. Lacquers do not interfere with the aesthetic properties of the application.

Combirepel™ is cost-effective, inert, and thermally stable and does not degrade on exposure to heat and sunlight. It does not volatilize and does not degrade in the soil. It is RoHS, RoHS2, REACH, ISO, APVMA, NEA compliant and FIFRA exempted.

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