adult and baby porcupine

African Crested Porcupine

Hystrix cristata

CLASS Mammalia | ORDER Rodentia | FAMILY Hystricidae

RANGE Italy, Sicily, and Northern Africa (as far south as Tanzania and northern Congo)

HABITAT Forests, rocky areas, savannas, and deserts

DIET Bark, roots, tubers, nuts, fruits, insects, and small vertebrates

22 - 66 lbs.

2 - 3 ft

112 days


IUCN Status
Least Concern
adults and baby porcupine

The African crested porcupine is the world’s largest species of porcupine. These are nocturnal animals, so they mostly sleep inside their burrows during the day and forage for food at night.

They will dig their own burrows or take over abandoned aardvark burrows. A family group will develop an extensive inter-connected burrow system.

porcupines eating

When disturbed, they stamp their feet and charge the enemy, back end first, attempting to stab with the thicker, shorter quills. Such attacks have been known to kill lions, leopard, hyenas, and humans.

crested porcupine baby

At birth, the baby porcupines, called porcupettes, are covered in soft, sensitive bristles rather than hard quills.

porcupine by water

They are not considered threatened as a species but are overhunted in some areas.