They include three genera, of which the first is represented by the Canadian porcupine (Erethizon dorsatus), a stout, heavily-built animal, with long hairs almost or quite hiding its spines, four frontand five hind-toes, and a short, stumpy tail.
Erethizon dorsatus, the urson, is distributed all over the forest regions of North America; Synetheres (or COendu) prehensilis, the prehensile-tailed porcupine of South America (fig.
In the last two genera the feet have four toes, in place of the five of Erethizon (see Porcupine).
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