Friday, September 28, 2012

Cape Porcupine

Hystrix africaeaustralis
Allow me to introduce you to the largest Porcupine in the world, and the largest Rodent on the African Continent-- the Cape Porcupine. They shiny critters can grow almost 3ft long (not including the tail), and individuals have been found that weigh over 60lbs!

Though the name hints at a specific location, the Cape Porcupine can actually be found throughout central and southern Africa. They live at elevations below 2,000m, and can be found in a large range of habitats, though they prefer open, rocky areas.

Obviously, Cape Porcupines have quills. Their back and tail is covered with them, and the ones in the tail are  especially hollow. This allows the Porcupine to make a rattling sound in order to scare off predators. If that tactic fails, the Porcupine will charge at its attacker and try and stab them with their quills. Contrary to popular belief, they do not shoot the spines out-- they stab and then dislodge them.

Cape Porcupines are rodents that mate for life. Monogamous pairs will live and raise their young together, and will mark and defend a specific home range. They are also a nocturnal species, and are herbivores. The Porcupines  typically eat fruits, bark, and roots, but will also go after crops. They are considered to be a pest in some places, do to crop and tree damage.

Cape Porcupines have a stable population and are not under any major conservation threat.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Southern and Central Africa
Size : Body Length up to 32in (80cm), Weight up to 53lbs (24kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Rodentia
Family : Hystricidae -- Genus : Hystrix -- Species : H. africaeaustralis

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...