• African crested porcupines are the largest porcupines in the world and the largest rodent in Africa. Porcupine characteristics Most of the porcupines are round. Its body is covered with coarse quills 1 to 13 inches long and of varying thicknesses. They may also find shelter in abandoned aardvark holes, which they may change to suit their own needs. Their distinguishing feature is the coating of the head, nape, tail, and back of the body in long quills. Old World crested porcupines have the largest quills. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1991. Porcupine quills are a favorite ornament and good-luck charm in Africa. The North African crested porcupine is the largest porcupine on earth. Old World porcupines eat berries, bark, roots and fruit, and invade farmers’ fields in search of pumpkins, potatoes and other crops. Quill length on different parts of the body varies, from 1 inch up to 12 inches on the back. Shape The World. When either type of porcupine is threatened, its quills become erect, which makes the animal appear larger and more dangerous to predators. African Crested Porcupine. There are black and white quills on the neck and back. Within a group of porcupines, all protect the young. 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. Their sharp quills give them a distinctive appearance and serve a practical purpose by keeping predators away. Special “rattle quills” on the tail are relatively short, but very wide and hollow. In the zoo, crested porcupines may be fed yams, apples and spinach. Porcupines do not “shoot” their quills. Relatively larger with longer, heavier quills than Hystrix cristata (North African porcupine… We're Open! They are hollow and were once used as containers for gold dust. The quills are a modified hair, made from keratin like human hair, but hardened. A porcupine has approximately 30,000 quills on its body. Their gestation period is 107-112 days with young being born during the wet season.. At birth, porcupines weighs only 3% of the mother’s weight. 7. New World porcupines make nests in logs, tree roots, holes in rocks and trees. A 10-year-old male African crested porcupine (Hystrix cristala) was one of an apparently infertile pair in a zoological collection in Great Britain. They live together sharing an elaborate burrow system, which they may remain in during winter, although they do not undergo true hibernation. New World porcupines prefer a diet high in pine needles and bark, but also eat berries, fruits, leaves, roots, grass, flowers and tubers. The National Geographic website mentions that porcupines can’t shoot their quills as once thought, but notes that the quills will fall off a porcupine’s body if touched. PART OF WILD SKY MEDIA | FAMILY & PARENTING, NatureWorks: North American Porcupine – Erethizon Dorsatum. Crested porcupines produce one to two litters (of one to 3 young) per year, depending on whether they live in the wild or in captivity. Its most heavily armed area is its hindquarters, which have short, thick quills. Some dens may be very long and will often be scattered with bones that they may have gnawed on. The head, body, and (in some species) tail are covered by barb-less spines, which are thick, stiff, sharp modified hairs, as much as 13.8 in (35 cm) in length. Porcupines live approximately 15 years in their natural habitats and up to 20 years in zoos. Their most recognizable feature is, of course, its quills. Crested porcupines have shorter quills on their back and rump sections. The crest starts from the top of the head and extends down to the shoulders. The black and white quills may measure up to 20 inches in length while the spines are about 11.8 inches long. It ranges in head-to-rump length from 27.6 to 35.4 inches (70 to 90 centimeters) and is the largest of the African porcupines, ranging from 24.3 to 39.7 pounds (11 to 18 kilograms). Woodland, grassland, farmland, and even urban environments are all suitable habitats for skunk. The most characteristic physical features are the quills, spines, and bristles. The head, neck, shoul­ders, limbs and un­der­side of body are cov­ered with coarse, dark brown or black bris­tles (Nowak 1991). ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. These circular quills can range up to 20 inches in length. Porcupines live in a variety of habitats, including wooded areas, prairies, mountains, rain forests and deserts. Males are easily identifiable by their large manes. The incisors are sharp and chisel like. Be Her Village. The sides and belly have soft dark brown to black fur. It mostly eats fruit and tough roots, but has been known to scavenge the remains of dead animals. they will also shake their quills to make a rattling sound or turn its back and charge backwards toward the intruder. They like to eat the soft layers of bark, branches and roots of trees. Are Monkey Fingerprints Similar to Human Fingerprints? The porcupine is, of course, easily recognized by its most notable feature—its quills. In the Mediterranean, it is known from mainland Italy and the island of Sicily, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia; they are also recorded in Ghana, Libya and along the Egyptian coast. Porcupine quills have long been a favourite ornament and good-luck charm in Africa. The quills will often cause a deep infected wound that may prove fatal. Crested porcupines may travel up to 9 miles (15 km) per night. In the wild their diet varies from twigs, berries, barks, leaves, roots, stem and other vegetation depending on the seasons and species of porcupines. To make this site work properly, we sometimes place small data files called cookies on your device. The North African crested porcupine is monogamous. Diet for porcupines: In terms of food, all species of porcupines are herbivores and vegetables / greens are their staple meals. The San Diego Zoo website notes that while these porcupines don’t jump or climb well, they are good swimmers. The porcupine is identified by its specialized hairs or quills. Their quills can grow as large as 20 inches long on the crested area, which covers the head through the shoulder. Despite being a solitary forager, they live in small family groups consisting of an adult pair with their young. How Do Porcupines Communicate With Each Other? Its quills are longer (8 to 16 inches in length) and cover the lower half of the porcupine’s body. The eyes and ears are small, compared to the size of the porcupine’s face. The crested porcupines does not climb or jump. 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