We have seen a few of these animals taken by leopard recently in Kruger… They are a delight to see in the wild and we have been fortunate enough to have had a few of these

Behaviour

Nocturnal, only seen during the day when basking outside its burrow. Refuges in caves, amongst tree roots, aardvark burrows, but will also dig its own burrow with an elaborate tunnel system. Groups of up to 6 can be found, they forage alone or, usually the male will accompany a youngster in order to protect it

Porcupines scent mark with urine and anal secretions and they have overlapping home ranges

The porcupine’s hollow quills make it a good swimmer, aiding in buoyancy. The main use for its quills is defence – if attacked this rodent will erect its quills and lunge at its attacker trying to embed a few quills, it also shakes its tail to make a hissing sound. These quills are always dirty so infections occur. Lions often become man-eaters due to injuries sustained by porcupine. Some predators have found that if they persevere with the porcupine they can tire it out & thus have a better chance of getting to its head

Diet

They are omnivorous, traveling about 16km from their burrows, mostly eating vegetation, but gnaws on bones for phosphorous and calcium and scavengers from carcass’s. Is a farmer’s nightmare as it is known to take a bites out of a few melons until it finds a ripe one. They build up stores in their burrows. They ring-bark certain tree’s for nutrients which puts the tree at risk during fires so they must be managed properly. They prefer broken areas with lots of resting & hiding places

Breeding

Only one pair breeds, seasonally during summer rainfall. The other porcupines mate but don’t conceive – this is because of chemical signals from the breeding female puts the other females off. Porcupines are one of a few animals that indulge in sex out of the breeding season which is an important factor to keeping the group together

Gestation is about 3 months. One baby is born altricial and is suckled for 3 months and starts eating solids after about a month

Interesting Info

Mass: male=12kg          female=13kg

Traditional people regard the meat as a delicacy. Quills can be burnt and the smoke sniffed to stop nosebleeds

Porcupines have no family relation to any other animal

Porcupines fall part of the order – Rodentia. They have high powers of reproduction. They have no canines but a single pair of razor sharp incisors which grow continuously. They eat their faeces to obtain maximum nutrition from their food. The porcupine is the largest rodent in southern Africa