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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Porcupine damage and repellent research in the interior Pacific Northwest

  • Author(s): Witmer, Gary W.
  • Pipas, Michael J.
  • et al.

Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum) rely on trees and shrubs for winter food and can cause serious, localized damage to conifers. Twenty-two percent of ponderosa trees (Pinus ponderosa) examined in southeastern Washington were damaged by porcupines. Most damage involved complete girdling of the mid- to upper boles of the larger trees (12 to 30 cm dbh) in the stand. Preliminary repellent trials with captive porcupines suggested that several materials might reduce tree damage, especially predator-associated odors. Field trials are needed to assess efficacy and duration of protection under ambient winter conditions.

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