Porcupines are fairly common residents in the ponderosa pine and fir forests on the Navajo Nation. They can occaisonally be found wandering the forest floor, but spend most of their time in the trees. They are herbivores, feeding on leaves, twigs and green plants. They will also feed on tree bark, sometimes enough to kill the tree. Their most recognizing feature is their modified hairs that form very sharp spines. Porcupines cannot shoot these spines, but they are easily detached and imbedded in any animal trying to attack the porcupine.
Porcupines are named "Dahsání" in the Navajo language. It is said that Porcupine was given to one of the Navajo Clans as their protector and guide as they journeyed back to NavajoLand. And porcupine is thought to have mystical healing powers, and used during winter ceremonies by Navajo Medicine Men. They are also an important animal for the Navajo Shoe Game.