The crested porcupine, aka African crested porcupine, is the largest known porcupine in the world. They can be found in Italy, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa. Their preferred habitats are rocky & mountainous regions, croplands, forests, and sandhill deserts. Even though they are poisoned (due to crop damage they can cause) and are hunted for their meat, their populations remain stable and thus they are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Hystrix cristata
Weight: Up to 30 lbs.
Length: Up to 2.5 feet, plus up to a 6.7 inch tail
Lifespan: Up to 20 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) Crested porcupines are nocturnal (active at night).
2.) They travel up to 9.3 miles each night, in search of food.
3.) While not gregarious, these social critters will form family groups, consisting of an adult pair and their offspring.
4.) A group of porcupines is called a prickle.
5.) When defending themselves, they will arch their back, raise and shake their quills to appear larger than they actually are. They will also stomp their feet and attempt to attack their opponent back first, as this is where the larger and sharper quills are located.
But wait, there’s more on the crested porcupine!
6.) Crested porcupines forage for bark, tubers, rhizomes, bulbs, roots, fallen fruit, and agriculture crops. For added protein they will also feast on insects and small vertebrates. Carrion (dead animals) is also taken in, if times are lean.
7.) The crested porcupine will occasionally gnaw on bones for added calcium.
Did you know…?
Porcupine quills contain a bacteria which can be fatal if enough is introduced into the blood stream of an opponent.
8.) They are monogamous (mate for life).
9.) Females undergo up to a 112 day gestation (pregnancy) that yields up to 2 precocial (nearly fully developed) young.
10.) The young are called pups or porcupettes.
But wait, there’s still more on the crested porcupine!
11.) The porcupettes are born with soft quills that harden a few hours after birth. In case you were wondering how mom gives birth to a living pin cushion.
12.) Contrary to popular belief, porcupines don’t shoot their quills at attackers. Rather, they back into their attacker and stab them with the quills which, often times, can break off and remain stuck in the attacker’s skin.
Did you know…?
Since they use, in part, bones to wear down their teeth, there have been instances where thousands of bones have been found in their burrows.
13.) Their quills are up to 14 inches long!
14.) Being rodents, their incisors constantly grow. So they have to gnaw on hard substances to wear down their teeth.
15.) They may look clumsy on land, but they can swim with the best of them.
16.) Their primary predators, sans humans, are lions, leopards, hyenas, and dogs.
Now a Short Crested Porcupine Video!
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