African Crested Porcupine
Hystrix cristata

CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Rodentia
FAMILY: Hystricidae

SIZE:
29-37 inches

RANGE:
Central and South Africa; Italy

HABITAT:
Savannahs, woodlands, steppes, and uplands; prefers hilly country and scrub cover

DIET:
Wild - Bulbs, roots, tree bark, tubers, and fallen fruit
Zoo - Fruits and vegetables

DESCRIPTION:
Black body with black and white spines and with a crest of long, spiny hair from forehead to shoulders. The tail has short quills that are slender at the base and broader and hollow at the tip, producing a rattle-like sound when hit together.

FACTS:
Forages at night and sleeps in burrows during the day.

It is believed that Romans brought the crested porcupine to Italy, using them as food.

The quills are not shot out but are pulled out when they strike an object.

Live in family groups

Hunted for meat and because of the damage they do to crops.

YOUNG:
1-2 young

STATUS:
Lower risk; near threatened; hunted for food and as an agricultural pest.

REFERENCE:
Grzimek's Animal Encyclopedia, Vol. 11, Mammals
Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals, Jonathan Kingdon
Smithsonian Handbooks: Mammals, Juliet Clutton Brock