Porcupines are one of the largest groups of rodents, comprising of two families in the Infraorder Hystricognathi. Generally speaking, porcupines are divided into 'New World' porcupines (Family Erethizontidae) and 'Old World' Porcupines (Family Hystricidae). The majority of species from both groups occur in temperate to tropical regions and are herbivorous. Otherwise both groups differ widely with habitat, behavior, quill structure, dentition, and various other morphological features.
Old World porcupines can be found in sections of Southern Europe, as well as throughout Africa and Asia. It is possible historical Vikings knew of porcupines or possibly encountered them during trade or raids. The Crested Porcupine (Hystrix cristata) has a distribution that includes most of Italy.
In the DreamWorks Dragons Franchise, porcupines are mentioned as a comparison for spiky dragons.
In reality, some porcupine species can be a garden pest. Porcupines are also occasionally eaten in Western cultures, but is more so in Asia and Africa. Porcupine quills have also been used for personal adornments such as headdresses.