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African crested porcupine

Also known as: Hystrix cristata

The African crested porcupine is the largest of its species and the third largest rodent in the world.


Porcupines are nocturnal animals, sleeping in the day and foraging for food during the night. When alarmed or under threat, porcupines have a great defence mechanism, their quills. These quills are so dangerous that they are one of the biggest killer of lions in Africa. Their teeth never stop growing, so they gnaw on wood to help keep them trimmed. Young lions think porcupines are an easy target, but when approached, the porcupine will run backwards and spike the predator causing fatal injuries to the predators head.

Quick facts

Class: Mammal
Size: 63 to 93cm
Weight: 10 to 30kg
Life span: 12 to 20 years
Diet: Omnivore
Predators: Lions, leopards, hyenas
Habitat: Hilly, rocky areas
Distribution: Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and Italy
Conservation status: Least Concern (LE)

The African Crested Porcupine’s quills are a variety of lengths, with the longest growing almost 1 foot in length.