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Prickly Porcupine

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As you walk along the street
A porcupine you meet
How do you shake his hand when he says hi?
Carefully ... carefully .... careful L-Y
Tom Lehrer, "L-Y"

Porcupine characters show up in nearly every form of media. It seems that porcupines tend to fall under two distinct personality types: They're either A) the Grumpy Bear, Jerkass, or Ax-Crazy Sadists, or B) The Woobie, shy and lonely because no one wants to go near them.

Many works of media (particularly in Video Games where porcupines are often portrayed as villainous henchmen) portray porcupines as being able to shoot their quills as projectiles, even though this isn't true in Real Life (North American porcupines swing their tails at predators to dislodge the quills in their faces, while Old World porcupines tend to charge backwards at their enemies instead). Those on the receiving end of one tend to become a Human Pincushion (or Animal Pincushion) or in worst cases Cruel and Unusual Death. If the result is Pain to the Ass, it may lead into a Pain-Powered Leap.


If the porcupines are villains, expect them to have Spikes of Villainy.

Also includes hedgehogs, though hedgehogs are more likely to be portrayed in a positive light than porcupines who are more likely to be outright malevolent and evil.

NOTE: This is NOT a list of all porcupines or similarly-spiny mammals in media. This is a list of such mammals being stereotypes related to their spines, as having "prickly", grumpy or outright malevolent personalities.

Subtrope of Animal Stereotypes. Compare Painful Pointy Pufferfish and Sea Hurtchin for stereotypical depictions of another spiny animal.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Although no actual hedgehogs appear, Neon Genesis Evangelion has an episode titled "The Hedgehog's Dilemma", based on a fable about a group of hedgehogs who want to cuddle together for warmth, but are afraid of doing so because of their quills. Metaphorically, the "hedgehog" in question is protagonist Shinji Ikari, who is unconfident and afraid to socialize.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Porky Pine from Pogo is the grumpy variety.
  • The Far Side: Among others, one strip has a group of porcupines all staring at their bald friend, who is saying "Yeah, I had them all removed, and it's great!"

    Fan Works 
  • In the Emergency! fic "Punctuated", John Gage is nailed by a female porcupine being vied for by two suitors while pulling a hurt child from a storm drain. The author is good with accuracy: It's mentioned they can't shoot quills, John (as well as Morton, poked when removing the quills and Chet, poked trying to look at a quill) needs lots of antibiotics to kill the germs on the quills, and John's breathing moves quills toward his lung, nearly puncturing one.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: In chapter 20, the wolf Far-Tracker tells the story of how he ran afoul of one of these while hunting, and how he's pretty sure it was cursing him out afterward.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, the van in which Bob the Tomato and others were riding gets its tires punctured by the quills shot at them by an angry mother porcupine that was crossing the road with her babies.
  • Over the Hedge featured Lou and Penny, a porcupine couple with three children named Bucky, Quillo and Spike.
  • A porcupine named Buddy shows up in Open Season.
  • Morcupine Porcupine from Chicken Little. Yo.
  • The porcupine from The Fox and the Hound.
  • Mr. Pricklepants from Toy Story 3, who is a stiff-lipped stuffed hedgehog toy who constantly quotes Shakespeare. He also seems to employ Method Acting when it comes to his role as the toy of an imaginative little girl (when she takes a break to use the bathroom he refuses to "break character" and come alive like the others).
  • Ash in Sing is sarcastic and abrasive for much of the film. And her boyfriend is a "total super-jerk dinkleschplatt!" On the other hand, they're also said to be teenagers.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In The Second Jungle Book, Ikki the porcupine has a brief cameo where he's a Deadpan Snarker - i.e., prickly. Pamela Jekel takes this a bit farther in her posthumous sequel The Third Jungle Book, where there's a story about Mowgli and Ikki playing pranks on each other, until Mowgli gets into real trouble and Ikki is the only one who can fetch help.
  • A Porcupine Named Fluffy It's about a porcupine named Fluffy who befriends a rhinoceros named Hippo.
  • In the Discworld books, a Bawdy Song much beloved by Nanny Ogg is the Hedgehog Song. Or, by its non-euphemistic title, The Hedgehog Can Never Be Buggered At All.
  • One of the characters from Tales from Dimwood Forest was a cantakerous, old porcupine named Erith (short for Erethizon Doratum, which is also the scientific name for his species, the North American Porcupine) who proved a valuable ally throughout the series. In "Poppy", the titular little mouse even uses one of his discarded quills to gain an edge against an owl who had earlier threatened her life and killer her fiance, Ragweed. Ereth even gets a book dedicated to him in "Ereth's Birthday", where he's forced to care for a litter of fox kits against a vicious fisher that wants to hunt him (also Truth in Television as fishers are one of the few animals capable of hunting porcupines successfully by flipping them over their backs to avoid their quills.) From then on, he continues making major appearances in "Poppy's Return" and "Poppy and Ereth".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus - in a documentary on organized crime, a companion of gang boss Dinsdale Piranha confides that he was convinced he was being watched by an enormous hedgehog he called 'Spiny Norman', who could be anywhere from 12 feet to 800 yards long, depending on Dinsdale's mental state. Over the end credits we see Norman, animated by Terry Gilliam, looming over London rooftops, balefully calling "Dinsdale!"

  • The Hedgehog Song.


    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • One Darwin Awards urban legend mentions a man admitted to the hospital with a bunch of porcupine quills stuck in his crotch...
  • TierZoo had an episode on Rodents and considered the Porcupine to be an S-ranked animal, thanks to its quills ability causing Damage Over Time and giving an advantage against even the most powerful predators.

    Western Animation 
  • The aptly named Porcupine from My Friends Tigger and Pooh.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force has two examples in the form of Kevin's backstabbing little friend Argit, and one of the Plumber's Kids- Helen's brother Pierce.
  • Flaky in Happy Tree Friends is very shy.
  • One of the animals Gus the raincloud made in Partly Cloudy is a porcupine.
  • Taken to the extreme in Avatar: The Last Airbender with a porcupine mixed with a wild boar, one of the many Mix-and-Match Critters in the series.
  • Spiney, a member of the Philosophical Society on Mike, Lu & Og.
  • The midquel of Bambi II. Bambi gets pricked in the rear by a grumpy old porcupine (not too dissimilar to Ereth from the Tales from Dimwood Forest series listed above) when he and his friends walk on top of the log he was sleeping in. He also appears later at the climax, where Bambi uses his wits to catapult him towards one of the hunting dogs pursuing him, injuring and scaring it away.
  • One of Stitch's cousins from Lilo & Stitch: The Series was Spike (Experiment 319), a blue porcupine-like experiment who could fire his spines like darts. Anyone hit by them had their intelligence reduced, becoming goofy and silly for up to 48 hours.
  • In one episode of the 1985 cartoon adaptation of The Berenstain Bears, the Bear enlist help from some porcupines to thwart a raid by Weasel Mcgreed and his gang. In another episode, Sister claims that porcupines shoot their quills at their enemies, only for Teacher Jane to explain to her that porcupines don't really do such a thing.
  • In the Little Bear episode "How to Love a Porcupine," Little Bear and Duck meet a female porcupine who seems abrasive at first, but soon reveals herself to be sad inside because no one loves her. Little Bear and Duck try to be her friends, but all the games she wants to play require them to touch her quills. In the end, though, she meets another porcupine for the first time and they become fast friends.

    Real Life 
  • While they don't launch their quills at their enemies, old world porcupines will attempt to stab persistent attackers by running backwards and ramming them with their spiny backsides. The Indian crested porcupine in particular has been known to severely injure and even kill tigers and leopards with this method, with the latter often becoming man-eaters due to their injuries. For example, the Leopard of Gummalapur, responsible for the deaths of 42 people, was discovered to have two porcupine quills lodged in its right forefoot after it was killed.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Prickly Hedgehog


Only Girls Get It

When your PMS turns you all, ahem, angry and PRICKLY.

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