The African crested porcupine is the largest porcupine in the world. It’s body is covered with quills that range in size from 1 to 13 inches long and they vary in thickness. The African crested porcupine’s hind end is most heavily armored with quills that are thick and shorter. When threatened, the porcupine will raise its long quills along its head and back to make themselves appear larger. If that doesn’t scare off the predator it will rattle its tail that has hollow quills to ward off the predators. If all else fails it will run backwards and ram into the predator, leaving quills behind.
African crested porcupines live, on average, 6-10 years in the wild. In captivity they can live up to 20 years.
Adult African crested porcupines can range between 1.5-3 feet long. They can weight between 20-65 pounds. Males and females are typically similar in size. They are covered in quills that can range in size from 1-13 inches and these quills, when raised, help them appear larger to predators.
Porcupines are black with white tipped quills.
African crested porcupines are monogamous. Females typically have one litter a year and can have between one and four offspring. Because they are rodents, their teeth keep growing throughout their lives and spend a lot of time chewing on bark or branches to wear down their teeth.
African crested porcupines are highly adaptable. They can live wherever vegetation is available. They prefer wide open spaces rather than wooded or bushed areas. They dig holes in the ground or use rocky crevices for shelter.
Currently, African crested porcupines are not endangered. They are, at times, hunted or poisoned by farmers if they are found to be eating in the fields of farmlands. Habitat loss and human-animal conflict remain the main threat to African crested porcupines.
African crested porcupines can be found in Sub-Saharan Africa.
African crested porcupines are herbivores and only eat vegetation. They eat roots, bulbs, and bark. In areas where their food is deficient of phosphorous, they will chew on bones.
Females typically have a litter of offspring every year. In the litter they can have between 1-4 babies. Over half of the litters are single births. The offspring are born with soft quills and bristles that harden as they grow. Their eyes are open and they have teeth when they are born.
African crested porcupines live in small family groups called prickles. They are nocturnal and spend the majority of their day sleeping. At night they will head out of their den to forage for food. Though they appear clumsy and slow, porcupines can out run a person if disturbed.
African crested porcupines are listed as 'least concerned' on the IUCN Red List. They are at time hunted for their quills or killed by farmers who view them as pests.
- Baby porcupines are called porcupettes.
- A family of porcupines is called a prickle.
- The word porcupine means quill pig.
- African crested porcupines are the largest porcupine on earth.