Porcupines primarily eat roots, tubers, bark, and fallen fruit but also have a fondness for cultivated root crops such as cassava, potatoes, and carrots. © 2020 Wildlife Waystation, Inc. The tips of its quills lodge in its enemy's skin, and the resulting wounds can disable or even kill the predator. Porcupine comes from the Latin “porcus” for pig and “spina” for spine: “spiny pig”… BUT, they are not related to pigs. Appearance Female porcupines are about one kilogram heavier than males, weighing 10-24 kg and males with a mass of 10-19 kg. The African porcupine is the largest rodent in the regions they inhabit. One porcupine predator, the fisher, is able to flip the North American porcupine onto its back, exposing its unprotected belly. So porcupines don't have any predators except humans, which can kill them with a weapon and then handle the body carefully. Porcupine or Cape porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) Order Rodentia. These large rodents modify natural shelters among roots and rocks, inhabit holes made by other animals, or dig their own hideaways. They weigh approximately 50 lbs. When the porcupine sees predators such as lion, leopard or hyena it will often “freeze”, in the hope that it won’t be noticed. If continually bothered, the crested porcupine will stamp its feet, whirr the quills, and charge the disturber back end first trying to stab the enemy with the thicker, shorter quills. They are terrestrial, rarely climbing trees, but able to swim. African crested porcupines are excellent diggers and live in an extensive burrow systems, caves, rock crevices or aardvark holes. Porcupines are the largest and heaviest of all African rodents. Rodents are mammals including rats, mice, porcupines, beavers, and more. Not many predators are interested in porcupine meat, mainly due the strong protection it has, but those who do may experience quite a performance from the porcupine’s part. If an enemy persists, then they run backward until they ram their attacker with their quills. The young are suckled from six to eight weeks of age and then begin to eat vegetable matter. They are good diggers. The video isn’t the first to show a porcupine defending itself from big cats. They are well-developed and are born with open eyes. 3. The young leave home for the first time at about two weeks of age, as their quills — soft at birth — begin to harden. Although African crested porcupines Hystrix spp. When porcupine populations close to cultivated areas surge, they can become serious agricultural pests. They are covered in flat, prickly hairs, and have sharp quills of up to 30 cm long … They erect their spikes like other animals would do with their hair, to make them seem bigger, and make grunting noises while swaying back and forth to produce rattling sounds with their quills. The quills are striped black and white, which serves as a warning to potential predators. Between one and four young are born in the grass-lined burrow. They are smoked out of their burrows and hunted with spears, nets, or dogs. The deep wounds inflicted from these attacks can prove fatal and crested porcupines have been known to injure lions, leopards, hyenas and even humans. Sometimes, they will even take carrion back to the burrow to nibble on. Defense. Porcupines are rodents with an interesting way to protect themselves from predators. In addition to being targeted for their quills, they are illegally hunted for their meat. But few animals know this porcupine-eating trick. They are quite playful and, outside the burrow, they run and chase one another. Defense behaviour displays in a porcupine depend on sight, scent, and sound. It is believed that they are capable of “shooting” their quills, but this is not the case. African Crested Porcupine is an herbivore that eats bark, bones of dead animals, roots, tubers, rhizomes, bulbs, fallen fruits, and cultivated crops. They live together sharing an elaborate burrow system, which they may remain in during winter, although they do not undergo true hibernation. If an attack is launched, it is frequently met … They have quite acute hearing and will freeze when approached by predators, such as big cats, large predatory birds, or hyaenas. The African crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata) is the largest porcupine in the world. Scales on quill tips lodge in the skin like fishhooks and are difficult to pull out. Kilimanjaro, as high up as 3,500 meters (11,480 feet). African leopards: iconic big cats survive mounting threats, Building better ranger forces for wildlife conservation, China-Africa Youth Dialogues connect conservation champions. Rodents, such as our African crested porcupines, have ever growing front teeth (called incisors). The young leave home for the first time at about two weeks of age, as their quills — soft at birth — begin to harden. Their status is: Protected. The brush-tailed porcupine has many native predators: leopards, large raptors and snakes; however, humans are their most prominent and constant predators. Click on the pictures below to meet our resident animals! The crested porcupine takes care of the young for a long time and small family groups consist of the adult pair and young of various ages. They are well-developed and are born with open eyes. It is mostly nocturnal, but will sometimes forage for food in the day, eating bark, roots, fruits, and berries, as well as farm crops. Fishers will scratch at a porcupine’s face to try to get it to turn over so they can bite into its vulnerable side (the area without quills). A Porcupine’s Scientific Name is Erethizon Dorsatum and Hystricidae. predators. The African cape porcupine is one of the largest members of the rodent family. AWF engages local communities to set aside land for wildlife to live undisturbed. It is unable to protect its head by rolling up like a hedgehog. There are two different families of porcupines. They can erect their crest and quills at will, which makes them appear large and threatening. New World porcupines’ predators include martens, wolverines, pythons, eagles, and great-horned owls. The legs are short and sturdy, and each foot has five toes, all equipped with powerful claws. Females usually have only one litter per year, containing one or two or, occasionally three offspring. FAST FACTS. Its body is covered with coarse quills 1 to 13 inches long and of varying thicknesses, with the thickest quills covering its hindquarters. These burrows are most commonly occupied in family units. The gestation period of the African crested porcupine is about 112 days. Some quills, like those of Africa's crested porcupine, are nearly a foot (30 centimeters) long. The African brush-tailed porcupine (Atherurus africanus) is a species of rat-like Old World porcupine, indigenous to a broad belt of Africa ranging from Guinea on the west coast to Kenya on the east. Their quill lengths vary on different parts of the body, anywhere from 1” to 12” on their back. These … Federal ID #95-319081214831 Little Tujunga Canyon Road, Lake View Terrace, California 91342-5999(818)-899-8702. African crested porcupines have shorter tails than their New World cousins and the presence of rattle quills at the end of the tail make a hiss- The hollow rattle quills serve as musical instruments and were once used as containers for gold dust. ... only the African porcupine would eat ants and other insects. New quills grow in to replace lost ones. As human populations expand, humans and porcupines find themselves in increasingly close quarters. Porcupines also have a group of hollow quills on their tails which rattle when shaken. They are herbivores, primarily eating roots, tubers, bark and fallen fruit, and will seek out cultivated root crops like potatoes and carrots, making them agricultural pests. represent 0.5–34% of lion Panthera leo kills, interactions between the two species are poorly documented. The African porcupine is not a climber and forages on the ground. and are about 30” in length, and have very poor vision. [An African crested porcupine will] use all those defenses: the stomping, the rattling, and the shaking of the quills. The word porcupine means “quill pig” in Latin; however, porcupines are large rodents and have no relation to pigs. The young are suckled from … The quills detach readily if touched by a predator, but grow back quickly. If this fails to deter the predator, the North African crested porcupine will proceed to stamp its feet, whirr its quills to produce a rattling sound, and will then charge its enemy, back-end first, attempting to stab its enemy with its thicker, shorter quills. Three animals, however, has figured out how to eat porcupines. Porcupines are most common in hilly, rocky country, but they can adapt to most habitats — excessively moist forests and the most barren of deserts seem to be the only exceptions. If they are smart enough to knock the porcupine on it's back to get to it's soft under belly or smart enough and quick enough to out flank it and attack its face. When confronted, the North African crested porcupine raises and fans its quills to appear large and imposing. Surprisingly, however, studies show that porcupines can … They are nocturnal, and forage alone before returning to a den where it resides during the day. Between one and four young are born in the grass-lined burrow. However, the one main problem for porcupines is fishers. Donate now. They warn potential enemies of their defense system when alarmed. oregonzoo.org/discover/animals/african-crested-porcupine, arkive.org/north-african-crested-porcupine/hystrix-cristata/, Web Design & Development: Chicago Digital. Bobcats, cougars and fishers have learned that a porcupine has no quills on its stomach. The predators who attack the porcupines sharing one burrow are great horned owls , leopards, coyotes, bobcats , mountain lions and wolves. How does a porcupine protect itself against predators? African porcupine quills are used in American Indian crafts, including quill work, which is perhaps the oldest form of embroidery used by Native Americans. Porcupines have become a pest in Kenya and are eaten as a delicacy. Porcupines will stamp their feet, click their teeth, and growl or hiss while vibrating specialized quills that produce a characteristic rattle. The porcupine has quite an interesting heritage. Porcupines can not shoot quills but will attack predator by running backward and stabbing their enemy. In the Old World such as Africa, the biggest predators for porcupines are the whole gamut of large wild cats, especially lions, who are clever enough to carefully flip the porcupines over and attack them in this way. They have even been found on Mt. Their quill lengths vary on different parts of the body, anywhere from 1” to 12” on their back. These practices have eliminated them from densely settled areas. New quills will grow in to replace lost ones. They wear a coat of sharp quills all over their body. Usually, the quills lie flat against the body, but if danger threatens, they raise and spread them. The black & white quills along the head and back can be raised into a crest, thus the name. Despite being a solitary forager, they live in small family groups consisting of an adult pair with their young. If a predator approaches, it will first try to escape by running away. Activity: DIY Porcupine Defense. They weigh approximately 50 lbs. The scientific name of the species depends on whether it belongs to the Old World porcupines of the Hystricidae family, or the New World porcupines which are a part of the Erethizontidae family.. Predators of the Heart - African Crested Porcupine - YouTube The beaver is the only rodent in North America that is larger than the North American porcupine. Defensive Skills. The reverse charge is most effective because the hindquarters are the most heavily armed, and the quills are directed to the rear. They are good diggers. Family Hystricidae. The head is roundish and rather domed, with a blunt muzzle and small eyes and ears. They can also rattle their quills making a warning sound. The North African crested porcupine is monogamous. Moreover, the most feared predator that feeds on porcupines are the fishers. Porcup… and are about 30” in length, and have very poor vision. These include foxes, wolves, owls, bobcats, and cougars. Cape porcupines are found across the whole of southern and central Africa, to southern Kenya, Uganda, and Congo at the northern edge of their range. Porcupine quills have long been a favorite ornament and good-luck charm in Africa. An African crested porcupine's sharp, sturdy quills help protect it against predators. If this strategy doesn't chase off the predator, the porcupine stamps its feet, clicks its teeth, and rattles its hollow-tipped tail quills. The brush-tailed porcupine is hunted in such large quantities, many in those areas fear that it is no longer a sustainable option. They make little attempt to conceal themselves from potential predators. In defense, when disturbed, they raise and fan their quills to make themselves look bigger. Hystrix cristata (Crested Porcupine); Atherurus africanus (African Brush-tailed Porcupine); Hystrix africaeaustralis (Cape Porcupine), 60 to 93 centimeters in length (23 to 37 inches), 15 years in the wild; up to 20 years in captivity. New quills will grow in to replace lost ones. If this fails, it runs backwards and rams the attacker with the short, thick quills on its backside. The African crested porcupine is the largest rodent in Africa, and the 3rd largest rodent in the world, behind the capybara and beaver. Quill length varies on different parts of the body, ranging from 2.5 to 30.5 centimeters (1 to 12 inches). They make sniffing and quill-rattling noises that can be heard from several meters. When cornered, these porcupines can be aggressive, runnning sideways or backwards to embed their sharp quills in an attacker. The black and white quills along the head and back of this spiny mammal can be raised into a crest, hence its common name of crested porcupine. Koija Starbeds sets aside land for wildlife while, at the same time, creating jobs and income for the local community. Find objects around your house that can function in the same way a porcupine's quills do. Unleash more canine heroes to save elephants. The African Porcupine is primarily nocturnal, although it may be seen during the day. Quills were folded, twisted, wrapped, plaited and sewn using a wide range of techniques to decorate articles of clothing, bags, knife sheaths, baskets, wooden handles and pipe stems. Females may be larger than males, but otherwise, the sexes are alike … The gestation period of the African crested porcupine is about 112 days. Farmers use dogs to hunt them or smoke them out of burrows. When it is confronted by a predator, the African crested porcupine raises the 12- to 13-inch quills along its head and back into a crest so its body appears larger and more threatening. Become a Sponsor and connect with our animals in a personal way. DIET. They inhabit a wide range of habitats, from sea level to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft), although they are only marginally present in dense forests and the driest of deserts, and are not found in swampland. Both sexes are about 84 cm in length. In the Laikipia region of Kenya — which has no formal protected areas — we partnered with the Koija community and a private operator to construct the Koija Starbeds Lodge. The porcupine is Africa’s largest rodent. Web Design & Development: Chicago Digital, Wildlife Waystation is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. A porcupine also has many similar predators to hedgehogs. Which Predators attack Porcupine? They are quite playful and, outside the burrow, they run and chase one another. Their most recognizable feature is, of course, its quills. Any predators that live where the porcupines live can be predators to it. The porcupine is the prickliest of rodents, though its Latin name means "quill pig." North american porcupines predators can be bears,wolves,cougars,weasles,coyotes,bobcats,lynxes,and jaguars used to be but there range no … So one of these predators will sometimes kill and eat a porcupine by flipping it onto its back and biting into its vulnerable belly. The North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), also known as the Canadian porcupine, is a large rodent in the New World porcupine family. The black & white quills along the head and back can be raised into a crest, thus the name. Our solutions to protecting the porcupine: African Wildlife Foundation educates communities about the importance of sustainable practices for agricultural and settlement growth by providing training on best practices and incentivizing conservation agriculture when appropriate. Create your own quills! Learn how we're protecting Africa's species each and every day so we never have to live in a world without elephants, rhinos, and other precious wildlife. 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