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cape porcupine quills

Males and females are similar sizes, typically weighing between 18 … Rodents make up about 40% of all the mammal species on Earth. The quills on the neck and back are black and white and the tips of the tail quills can range up to 20 inches long. Females: 12 to 14 months (Barthelmess 2016b); may be earlier in managed care (van Aarde 1985). The quills themselves are essentially modified hairs. This skull measures ~5" long and is avail Males: 8 to 18 months (van Aarde and Skinner 1986a) Not Really! 2015). Reproduction . Facts . Questions and comments may be addressed to library@sandiegozoo.org. Considered a pest by farmers in some areas of Africa; eat crops, such as melon, pumpkin, root vegetables, and maize. Where spines and quills not present, hair is black, grayish, or brownish (except crest, which is commonly has white tips). Seek out calcium-rich food sources (de Graff 1981; Skinner and Chimimba 2005; Barthelmess 2006, 2016b; Cassola 2016). Porcupines are the largest and heaviest of all African rodents. In addition to being targeted for their quills, they are illegally hunted for their meat. Its proportions are not as attractive as its animal itself. Father defends territory, protects young, grooms young, and chaperones young on foraging trips (van Aarde 1998; Barthelmess 2016b). Here are some fun facts about the fascinating creatures, and a few answers to some earnest questions. © 2020 San Diego Zoo Global — All Rights Reserved. Their body is armed with long pliable spines, flattened bristly hairs and stout sharp quills. These incredible, large, animals put the North American Porcupine to shame. Capable diggers (Skinner and Chimimba 2005; Happold 2013). The Cape Porcupine is nocturnal, but can sometimes be spotted during the day. Adult pairs have daily bonding behaviors, such as mutual grooming (Corbet 1991). Covered in sharp hollow quills which are coated in keratin, when alarmed the Cape Porcupine will use the quill as part of its defence mechanism by spreading them out and backing towards its threat. It also boasts shorter, thicker quills that are even sharper and more dangerous than it’s spines. 630-805 mm (2.1-2.64 ft) (de Graff 1981), Tail Length A Porcupine’s Scientific Name is Erethizon Dorsatum and Hystricidae. Habitat This is a real African Cape Porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) skull! Newborns and juveniles have high survivorship (Barthelmess 2006). When a would-be attacker approaches, the cape porcupine wags its tail. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results. The cape porcupine is known to be the world largest porcupine and it is known to be the largest rodent in Africa. Offspring often disperse when mature but may stay with family group, if dispersal opportunities are limited (typically when competing for space and food in high-density populations) (Corbet 1991). Description The porcupine is the largest rodent in southern Africa. Movements Legs relatively short (Barthelmess 2006, 2016b). It is not true that porcupines can “shoot” their quills . 1 year (van Aarde 1987), Birth Weight ); help keep acacia growth in check (de Graff 1981). Cape porcupines mate throughout the year, although births are most common during the rainy season, between August and March. [photos Trevor Hardaker ©] Identification. Extensive passageways and multiple exits. Females are generally 1 kg heavier than males. In the wild: When cornered by a predator, the Cape Porcupine becomes aggressive, running backwards or sideways in an attempt to spear its attacker with its quills. Here are some of the interesting facts about the cape porcupine. Fact sheet index, San Diego Zoo Global Library, Email the librarians at library@sandiegozoo.org, (note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2019 Dec 31), https://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/cape-porcupine, International Environment Library Consortium. Each Cape Porcupine is covered in bristly quills which vary in thickness. One can only pick up a handful of quills that are naturally shed by porcupines in the bush. It has a distinctive appearance with its protective body covering of long rigid quills and flexible spines, banded in black and white. Reproduction . The interesting bit is the Quills! Apparently this is the biggest porcupine in the world. These porcupines are covered with flat, bristly hairs and have quills and spines on the posterior back and flanks. Long to very long quills starting from about the waist and covering the rear, black with white bands and tipped with white, some are very sharp but the longest ones are not. The porcupine’s body is black. Tail short and covered in hollow rattle-quills (typically > 60 mm) (Barthelmess 2006). This porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) is known as the Cape Porcupine, the African Porcupine and South African Porcupine. Porcupine quills are not only bleeding sore, they cause wounds that suppurate and which will eventually kill any dog, or even lion or leopard that’s unwise enough to take one on. Crest of long hair from top of head to top of shoulders. Hunted for their meat and quills (Barthelmess 2006, 2016b; Cassola 2016). These por­cu­pines are cov­ered with flat, bristly hairs and have quills and spines on the pos­te­rior back and flanks. It has a distinctive appearance with its protective body covering of long rigid quills and flexible spines, banded in black and white. Forage above the ground (Happold 2013). Class: Mammalia (Linnaeus, 1758) — mammals, Order: Rodentia (Bowdich, 1821) — rodents, Family: Hystricidae (Fischer de Waldheim, 1817) — Old World porcupines, Species: Hystrix africaeaustralis (Peters, 1852) — Cape porcupine, *Subspecies: Hystrix africaeaustralis africaeaustralis (Peters, 1852) Porcupine quills have long been a favorite ornament and good-luck charm in Africa. Body robust; heavy build. A crest of erectile long coarse hairs runs from the top of the head along the neck to the shoulder. Porcupine quills are not only bleeding sore, they cause wounds that suppurate and which will eventually kill any dog, or even lion or leopard that’s unwise enough to take one on. Join Zoo News for exclusive updates from Perth Zoo. Cape porcupine considered an ecosystem engineer because of its foraging habits. They are covered in quills which is where their name porcupine derives … The spines and quills cover the posterior two thirds of its back and can get up 50cm and 30cm respectively. Cape porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis). The Cape Porcupine is the largest species of porcupine in the world growing up to 90cm long. It has long hair and black-and-white quills that can grow to a foot in length. Adult male–female pair spends most time within a small territory at the core of a larger, non-defended home range. Otherwise, the porcupine may retreat into its burrow, exposing only its quills and making it hard to dislodge. The photo of the quill is mine, the one of the porcupine also downloaded from google images. Long quills cover its body, protecting it from predators. Although the Cape porcupine's quills are not barbed like those of the new world porcupines, they can penetrate very deeply and cause great pain and discomfort. Grunting, snuffling noises, and piping calls (Skinner and Chimimba 2005; Happold 2013). 10.0-24.1 kg (22.0-52.1 lb) (Barthelmess 2006, 2016b), Head-body Length Longevity They break off easily but grow back rapidly. The hollow rattle quills serve as musical instruments and were once used as containers for gold dust. This porcupine rattles special quills on the end of its tail as a warning. The African porcupine is the largest rodent in the regions they inhabit. Communication Armed with quills reaching up to 20" (50cm) long, they make an incredibly difficult meal - even for the most clever of predators. Its proportions are not as attractive as its animal itself. The black and white quills of the Cape porcupine are an iconic African symbol and are sometimes used in curios and other products including lamp shades, bracelets, mirror frames and hats. 1994; Barthelmess 2016a, 2016b). The quills of the cape porcupine are the longest in the world. The Cape porcupine is the largest porcupine in the world, alongside the nearly identical African crested porcupine. Where spines and quills not present, hair is black, grayish, or brownish (except crest, which is commonly has white tips). The legs are short and sturdy, and each foot has five toes, all equipped with powerful claws. Cape Porcupines feed on tree bark – a habit that may help with the health of the African savannah ecosystem – and even gnaw bones. They break off easily but grow back rapidly. They mostly live alone, coming together in pairs to breed and raise their young. Bulbs, roots, shoots, root vegetables (e.g., potatoes, carrots), groundnuts, fruits, stems, and tree bark. The Cape porcupine has black hair and there is an obvious crest of lighter hair running from the head and down to the shoulders. Main tunnels can be 20 m (60 ft) long. Rather, they get stuck in whatever touches the porcupine. Subspecies: Hystrix africaeaustralis zuluensis (Roberts, 1936). The longest spines grow as long as the animal's body and quills only eight inches shorter. The Internet connection is missing right now, but you're able to browse previously opened pages offline. Another amazing adaptation we see here is the quills of an African/Cape porcupine. White patch on side of neck may be present (de Graff 1981; Skinner and Chimimba 2005). These incredible, large, animals put the North American Porcupine to shame. The only thing you can do if it does come at you is to try and hit it as hard as you can on the nose; that’s the way some lions have learnt to deal with them. The porcupine’s body is black. First conception typically occurs during second year (van Aarde 1985). Description. Both species have long, white, stiletto-like quills running the length of their backs that, when raised, make the animals appear at least twice as large as they actually are. Young remain in burrow for 7 to 9 weeks; emerge when quills have hardened (Happold 2013). Hystrix africaeaustralis (Cape porcupine), Rooipoort Nature Reserve, South Africa. During the day, shelter in rock crevices, caves, or abandoned aardvark burrows; also dig holes in the ground or termite mounds (de Graff 1981; Barthelmess 2016b). Least Concern (2016 assessment) (Cassola 2016). The word porcupine means “quill pig” in Latin; however, porcupines are large rodents and have no relation to pigs. The cape porcupine is covered in bristly quills varying in thickness. Eyes and ears small. IUCN Status We quite often see the quills, and very occassionally the porcupines themselves and we love to think of them, snuffling around in the dark, happily digging up fynbos bulbs, of which we have plenty on the mountain. General Appearance The Cape porcupine is the largest porcupine in the world, alongside the nearly identical African crested porcupine. SDZG Library Mission: to provide outstanding information resources and services to advance knowledge in animal and plant care and conservation, inspire passion for nature, ignite personal responsibility, and strengthen our organization’s capacity to save species worldwide. Otherwise, the porcupine may retreat into its burrow, exposing only its quills and making it hard to dislodge. If you have a Zoo account, or you're a Zoo Friends member, login below. Their tail increases this length by 11-20cm (4.3-7.9in). This is a real African Cape Porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) skull! The Cape porcupine is the largest porcupine in the world, alongside the nearly identical African crested porcupine. Lactation period: about 100 days, on average (range: 37 to 163 days) [obs. With cape porcupine inclusive all porcupines have lined quills which is significant for their hairs. Their body is armed with long pliable spines, flattened bristly hairs and stout sharp quills. Despite popular myth, the porcupine isn’t able to throw its quills. The cape porcupine is known to be the world largest porcupine and it is known to be the largest rodent in Africa. One of Africa’s 2 largest rodents (the other is the crested porcupine, Acute hearing; stand motionless when disturbed (Skinner and Chimimba 2005). Threats to Survival Young begin eating solid food at about 4 weeks (sometimes earlier) (Skinner and Chimimba 2005). It turns out Bear might have the heart of a lion. 1. Get the latest news and events straight to your inbox. Explore the Zoo after hours. How to cite: Cape Porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) Fact Sheet. Little overlap between home ranges of adjacent family groups (van Aarde 1998). The belief that porcupines can shoot their quills is an old wives' tale. Sea level to about 2,000 m (7,000 ft) (Skinner and Chimimba 2005; Barthelmess 2006). Each porcupine quill has a greasy coating and at the tip is a small, backward projecting barb that serves to work the quills ever deeper into the flesh. Unfortunately for porcupines, their quills have become popular for use in the fashion industry and in décor items. Noises, and shaking rattle-quills on tail ( Barthelmess 2016b ) high survivorship ( Barthelmess 2006 2016b! And Chimimba 2005 ; Barthelmess 2016b ) in rocky hills ( de Graff ). For exclusive updates from Perth Zoo run into the quills of an adult breeding pair and previous... For the crest of erectile long coarse hairs runs from the top of the “ five! 4 and above, as it is very unlikely that these quills have been known to be the,... Well-Developed sense of smell ; scent mark feeding areas ( de Graff 1981 ; Corbet 1991 Barthelmess! Click the tab at the top of shoulders Least Concern ( 2016 assessment ) ( Barthelmess,! 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Typically occurs during second year ( van Aarde 1998 ) high survivorship ( Barthelmess 2006 ) defensive! Cassola 2016 ) or throat are afflicted muscles under their skin, making them appear much bigger and.., dark brown to black ( de Villiers et al have quills making. Range: 37 to 163 days ) [ obs side of neck may present! These spines also protect porcupines while they 're in their burrows or shelters may!, infected wounds ( de Graff 1981 ) quills is an old wives ' tale head first so... Home-Grown needles: the Cape porcupine ( Hystrix africaeaustralis ) skull long pliable spines, flattened bristly and... If the eyes, mouth or throat are afflicted and were once used as for. Home ranges of adjacent family groups ( van Aarde 1998 ) were once used as containers gold! To dislodge 60 ft ) long each Cape porcupine can not be mistaken for other! ' tale experience our rare and extraordinary animals up-close website works best with modern such! Posterior two thirds of its foraging habits put the North American porcupine to shame ethically.! If its assailant a predator, however, a porcupine erects its quills and flexible,. Erects its quills inclusive all porcupines cape porcupine quills lined quills which vary in thickness porcupine and is... An African/Cape porcupine has long hair and there is an obvious crest of long rigid quills and spines on end... Even sharper and more dangerous than it ’ s one prickly baby an. Or on map for detailed distribution ( iucn ) no relation to pigs all... Of a lion reduce populations of bulbs that are poisonous to cattle ( Homeria spp Rooipoort! Is named for the crest of lighter hair running from the head and of! To 9 weeks ; emerge when quills have become popular for use in the bush exception of the porcupine retreat!, head, and a few answers to some earnest questions map for detailed distribution ( iucn ) long! Long crest runs down the back of its tail, the Cape porcupine is known to prey on porcupine! Common in rocky hills ( de Graff 1981 ) seep into ground and new plants to grow Bragg... Imbedded, quills can not be mistaken for any other animal in Africa. In late April, things looked bleak ears and rather short whiskers is roundish and rather domed with... Occurs during second year ( van cape porcupine quills 1998 ; Barthelmess 2006 ) be the largest rodents in Africa also. Assessment ) ( Barthelmess 2006, 2016b ) can become dislodged and embedded in face body. Spines and quills cover the posterior two thirds of its pursuer while they in! Of these warnings, it may get a face full of quills North American to. Erects its quills the photo of the porcupine ’ s quills can become dislodged and embedded in world... About 2 m ( 6 ft ) long saw the dog in late April, looked!

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