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Indian Porcupine

Hysterix indica

CHARACTERISTICS

Family
Hystricidae

Weight
up to 2.5 kg

Habitat
tropical and subtropical Asia and Africa

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

External Features and Food

Porcupines are rodents and can grow to 90 cm in length and 25 kg in weight. These nocturnal animals feed on the fruits of trees and shrubs as well as roots and tubers. They use their highly developed senses of hearing, smell and taste to get their bearings in the dark.

 

The Longest Quills in the World

 

At a length of up to 40 cm the porcupine has the longest quills of any mammal. Their spiny coat scares off even big cats and large birds of prey, which are predators of the porcupine. When in danger the porcupine raises its quills and promptly looks as if it has doubled in size. In addition they growl, hiss and snort to warn off their enemy. If the threat persists they rattle the hollow quills in their tails and, if all else fails, they stab their assailant with their quills.

Offspring

Porcupines live together in fixed pairs. The female gives birth to between one and four young approx. 90 days after mating. They only weigh about 350 g but are born with teeth and quills. Porcupine babies are fed by their mother for the first 60 days and they become sexually mature at around one year old.

Conservation status