The South African Porcupine has small eyes and ears and rather short whiskers. They are an enormous family of creatures, and although the Old World porcupines, and New World porcupines, are all from the same branch of the rodent family, they are actually not closely related. Cape Porcupine facts – The Cape porcupine is believed to grow up to about one meter long and it weighs 20 kilograms. The male and female raise the young together as a monogamous pair. They care for their young together, but will usually forage for food independently of their mate. Fast Facts About the Cape Porcupine Size: 700 mm long, 25 cm at shoulder. This is also known as the Cape Porcupine and is known for its stout, sturdy structure. Specific foetal growth velocity for the Cape porcupine is higher than that recorded for most other hystricomorph rodents, but similar to that recorded for large-bodied rodents of the same group. African spurred porcupines are primarily herbivores, or plant-eaters. The Cape porcupine is a large (12.0 kg), nocturnal hystricomorph rodent and widely distributed throughout southern Africa. The African crested porcupine is native to regions of Northern Africa, Southern Europe, and areas of the Mediterranean. Their impressive display is mainly used in response to a threat, although they can and do erect and rattle their quills when faced with an unknown porcupine. Porcupines don't actually "shoot" their quills, but shed them upon impact, so they become imbedded in an attacker. Weight: 12-19 kg. Scientific name. In South Africa, the porcupine can be found at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve between Johannesburg and Pretoria, Seekoei Nature Reserve (just outside Jeffreys Bay), the Amakhala Nature Reserve (near Grahamstown and Port Alfred), and the Zandvlei Estuary in Cape Town. In the wild, their lifespan is about a decade, while they can live for double that period in captivity. The young grow rapidly, reaching full size in about a year. Although the Cape Porcupine will dine mainly on vegetation, it has been known to gnaw on bones and carrion too. Cape porcupines are nocturnal, and, unlike new world porcupines, they're exclusively terrestrial. Cape porcupines are one of the world’s largest porcupine species. Males and females are similar sizes, typically weighing between 18 … This porcupine species is found throughout southern and central Africa; including in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and the Congo. Female porcupines have teats on their sides just behind their front legs, and they lay sternal to nurse their offspring. Their short rump spines and the underside of their tails are white. You can help feed and care for our porcupines and other threatened animals around the world by donating today - if you can, please support our Survival Fund . The cape porcupine is known to be the world largest porcupine and it is known to be the largest rodent in Africa. The young are born with soft quills and incisors, while the other teeth start appearing at two weeks of age. In fact, it is the largest rodent in southern Africa and one of the largest in the world. Hystrix africaeaustralis (African Porcupine) is a species of rodents in the family Old World porcupines. South African porcupines are the largest rodent in their region. On the farmland area, October had the lowest estimated Cape porcupine home range (11.72 ha) and November had the highest (24.07 ha) (Fig. Their digging does promote soil oxygenation and the new growth of bulbs, though. Dig holes that open up soil surface, allowing water to seep into ground and new plants to grow (Bragg et al. They have long, sensitive whiskers that they use to find their way around in their burrows or at night. Hyenas, leopards, raptors and pythons will eat porcupines on occasion. They live in North Africa, South Africa and East Africa. Unguarded porcupine cubs should be an attractive prey for small/mesopredators (e.g. Females are, on average, about one kilogram heavier than males and both sexes are larger than half a meter long. They're more closely related to agoutis, capybaras or even guinea pigs. Visit our Winter Visits page to learn more about the amazing animals you can still see during the winter. If cornered in the open, they respond very aggressively, erecting their sharp hollow "rattle" quills and running sideways or backwards to drive them into their attacker. Cape Porcupine Facts. Zoo New England gratefully acknowledges the generous support of our sponsors: © 2020 Commonwealth Zoological Corporation, Length: Up to 39 inches; tail 4 to 6.5 inches. Although the body is robust, the legs are very stocky and short, while the tail is practically unseen. The Cape Porcupine does not demand a particularly defined or specialised habitat. In South Africa, see them in these and many other reserves and park... SA-Venues.com® has been assisting travellers with their South Africa travel plans since 1999, and is the largest, independent online travel guide for South Africa available in both English and German. Because of their preference for plant roots and bulbs, these porcupines can become a pest amongst farmers, who make their living from the crops. Advance ticket purchase required. These little ones are weaned at about 100 days, and reach sexual maturity at around one year. However, if it feels that it needs to take action, it will charge the attacker with its quills erect, making it look a lot bigger and more vicious than in its usual state. As rodents, their incisors grow continuously, so they need to gnaw on items to keep them sharp and worn down. Individuals are known to live for 240 months. A Cape porcupine ( Hystrix africaeaustralis ) was presented for surgical castration to prevent inbreeding within the family group. Cape porcupines are found in sub-Saharan Africa and are able to inhabit many different types of habitats as long as cover and vegetation are present. Indian porcupines are almost the same size on average as well, being slightly heavier on average than crested porcupine but slightly lighter than Cape porcupines. Females can give birth one to two times per year. They are found in The Afrotropics. The following is a small sample of thousands of species of wildlife found in South Africa. They weigh from 10 to 24 kilograms (22 to 53 pounds), with exceptionally large specimens weighing up to 30 kg (66 lb). Rodents, such as our African crested porcupines, have ever growing front teeth (called incisors). Size: 60 lbs The African Crested Porcupine, also known as a crested porcupine, is one of the world’s largest rodents. 3b). We have some. Porcupines need to stay indoors and off exhibit if it's below 40 degrees. Cape porcupines' bodies are covered with flat, bristly hairs, and they have large quills on their posterior back and sides that range from a couple of inches to a foot in length. The Cape Porcupine is 630 to 810 mm in length (excluding the small tail, which is about 110 to 200mm long). Although they tend to give birth during the rainy season (August to December, often extending right through to March), the South African Porcupine actually breeds all year round. They nurse for three to four months at which point they will weigh four to five kilograms. The Cape Porcupine lives for a relatively long time. These are shorter, at around 30mm and have a very sharp tip. Tickets are still available 1/4 - 17. Porcupines may freeze if they hear a large predator. The quills have black and white bands all along their length, making them popular for use in arts and crafts. Their teeth and gut are both adapted to handle tough material that other animals may not be able to break down or digest. They can erect their crest and quills at will, which makes them appear large and threatening. They'll gnaw on small branches and even bones when they can find them, which provide a good source of calcium. Our Cape porcupine is part of the Old World family of porcupines. ZooLights at Stone Zoo is SOLD OUT through 1/3. The Cape Porcupine measures 63 to 81 centimetres (25 to 32 inches) long from the head to the base of the tail, with the tail adding a further 11–20 centimetres (4.3–7.9 inches). Karoo National Park - A little piece of Heaven, Youll Find These 15 Amazing Animals in South Africa, Pack a picnic basket and explore these South African Botanical Gardens. These porcupines are covered with flat, bristly hairs and have quills and spines on the posterior back and flanks. From the head to the base of it’s tail, a cape porcupine measures between 63 and 81cm (25 and 32in) long. It has long hair and black-and-white quills that can grow to a foot in length. Litters are usually born between August and March. Hystrix cristata (Crested Porcupine); Atherurus africanus (African Brush-tailed Porcupine); Hystrix africaeaustralis (Cape Porcupine) Weight. Concerns are therefore expressed towards the sustainability of these species by virtue of the number of uses attributed to them. Zoo New England participates in the Cape porcupine Species Survival Plan. All porcupine species fall into a very diverse order called Rodentia. Find and book hotels and accommodation in South Africa. Rather, they get stuck in whatever touches the porcupine. The African cape porcupine is one of the largest members of the rodent family. The quills are striped black and white, which serves as a warning to potential predators. Habitat: Broad tolerance but prefer broken country...more The North American porcupine is the second largest of all rodents. Female porcupines reach maturity by 9-16 months, while males reach maturity by 8-18 months. Cape porcupine We have two Cape porcupine here at Edinburgh Zoo, a male named Little Rick and a female named Zahara. They're born with their eyes open and incisors that have already broken through the gums. These porcupines have an unusual way of warding off enemies by shaking hollow quills on the tips of their tails when predators are detected. Appearance: Cape porcupines' bodies are covered with flat, bristly hairs, and they have large quills on their posterior back and sides that range from a couple of inches to a foot in length. Typically, the male is more defensive of their territory, which they both mark. THe porcupine does not shoot its quills out in defence, as it is rumoured to do. This is a large species of porcupine, complete with a full compliment of defensive quills and has very few natural predators. Due to their effective defence system, the African Porcupine does not easily succumb to predators. They can be distinguished from other porcupine species by the strip of white, short spines that runs along the middle of their rumps and their black-and-white colouring. African porcupines are herbivorous feeding on various plant parts including roots, bark, and fruit. Both males and females weigh between 10 and 24 kg. If the porcupine is attacked, its initial reaction is to freeze and wait for the danger to pass. The major difference between Old and New world species is that the Old World porcupines live on the ground and often in small groups, while the New World porcupine… Class: Mammalia Order: RodentiaFamily: Hystricidae Genus: Hystrix Species: africaeaustralis. The gestation period of the South African Porcupine is about 94 days, or roughly three months, long. One to four Cape porcupine offspring (the average is two) are born after a gestation of three months. Porcupines have small heads and chunky bodies and grow up to 25 to 40 inches long from head to tail. The resulting rattle is an unmistakable threat. Travelling to South Africa? Canidae, Viverridae, Mustelidae), particularly numerous in the African distribution range of crested porcupines, which may have contributed to the evolution of protective behaviour by both parents. Porcupine can give birth 1-2 times a year with litter size varying from one to three, either, twins or triplets in captivity . The male and female are approximately the same size and can weigh between 10 and 40 pounds. Cape porcupines measure 63 to 81 centimetres (25 to 32 inches) long from the head to the base of the tail, with the tail adding a further 11–20 centimetres (4.3–7.9 inches). We make it easy for you to plan your trip online. Males and females are similar in size. They are similar in appearance to, and only slightly larger than, their close relatives, the crested porcupines, and can most easily be distinguished from them by the presence of a band of short white spines along the midline of the rump. Habitat. Those wanting to use them should be committed to ensuring that they were obtained in an eco-friendly, non-harmful way. Cape porcupines are the largest rodents in Africa and also the world's largest porcupines. Cape porcupines are Hystricomorph rodents, and surprisingly, are not closely related at all to New World porcupines. Cape porcupine considered an ecosystem engineer because of its foraging habits. 3a). Females may be larger than males, but otherwise, the sexes are alike in appearance and are difficult to distinguish. As a result, population studies are not overly accessible making it difficult to determine the global population size of porcupines. When threatened by predators, Cape porcupines will hide in their shelter when available with their heads facing in and their quills erect, which makes them almost impossible to dislodge. SA-Venues.com © 1999-2020. By sharing research and knowledge, participating institutions work together to establish guidelines that best ensure the health of captive populations, and with success, the survival of otherwise extinct species. 15 years in … Indian porcupinesare almost the same size on … The Cape porcupine, leopard, and chacma baboon were the most diversely utilised, with 16, 15, and 11 distinct uses being attributed to them, respectively. Lifespan: 30 years. This porcupine species is nocturnal. Cape porcupines are solitary or found in small family groups. And, we'll send you a R200 voucher to use on your next booking. She will give birth to one litter per year (unless a previous litter was lost), which comprises of one to three babies (although about half of the births are of only one baby). Acute hearing allows this species to respond quickly to threats. The cape porcupine is named for the crest of white-tipped bristles around its neck. The tail can grow as long as 8 inches. Porcupine or Cape Porcupine [Hystrix africaeaustralis] Appearance Both the male and female African Porcupines weigh from 10 to 24 kilograms (22 to 53 pounds) with very large specicimens weighing up … The female goes into oestrus for about nine days. Rodents make up about 40% of all the mammal species on Earth. Rodents are mammals including rats, mice, porcupines, beavers, and more. Like other rodents, crested porcupines are nocturnal, and monogamous. LIFESPAN: Wild - 12 - 15 yrs; Human Care - 20 yrs SIZE: Length - 2 - 3 ft WEIGHT: 22 - 66 lbs STATUS: Stable THREATS: Lions, leopards, birds of prey, hyenas, and humans FUN FACT: The pines and quills of a porcupine are modified hairs that are soft at birth but then harden. A literature review found limited information on relevant anatomy and surgical approach, with a single report describing the need for CT to locate the testes. The young nurse for three to four months and reach full size by one year of age. Some really big males can weigh up to 30 kg, but this is unusual. Their tail increases this length by 11-20cm (4.3-7.9in). They are nocturnal herbivores. This makes it practically impossible for the predator to retrieve. The porcupine does not shoot its quills at predators; rather, it sheds them on impact so that they become imbedded in an attacker. Their quills are soft at birth, but rapidly harden. However, they are sometimes challenged by lions, leopards, hyenas, and the like. The quills detach readily if touched by a predator, but grow back quickly. Subscribe for the latest special offers and travel inspiration. In addition, they have coarse fur that can be brown or black. Members: Online reservations are required for your visit. Cape porcupines measure 63 to 81 centimetres (25 to 32 inches) long from the head to the base of the tail, with the tail adding a further 11–20 centimetres (4.3–7.9 inches). Its proportions are not as attractive as its animal itself. They feed on roots, bulbs, tuber and bark. Porcupines also have a group of hollow quills on their tails which rattle when shaken. Their short rump spines and the underside of their tails are white. The spines covering the body measure about 50mm in length, with sharp black defence quills scattered in-between. All Rights Reserved. Know Before You Go: To ensure the safety of staff and guests, we've made modifications to the Zoo experience in accordance with public guidance and health recommendations. Distribution. However, they are absent in swamplands, and are very seldom found in very arid areas or in dense forests. The Cape Porcupine is a monogamous animal and will usually live with its mate, defending its territory (which can consist of around six different burrows) together. They may be found in small family groups, but they tend to forage alone and to follow the same paths searching for food. They'll modify natural shelters, such as caves, crevices or burrows created by other animals. More often, though, it will eat fruit, seeds, roots, bulbs and bark. COMMON NAME: Cape Porcupine SCIENTIFIC NAME: Hystrix africaeaustralis TYPE: Mammal DIET: Herbivore GROUP NAME: Prickle. The Cape Porcupine is 630 to 810 mm in length (excluding the small tail, which is about 110 to 200mm long). Cape Porcupines are found from sea level to 2000 m above sea level in … Reproduction is dioecious. They are covered with flat, bristly hairs and have quills and spines on the back and flanks. There are around 2,050 living species classified under this order, the largest being the capybara which weighs between 35 and 66 kg (77-146 lbs) and the smallest is one of the pygmy jerboa species. Sitemap. 2005; Barthelmess 2016b). They can be found in high and low elevations, and in a variety of conditions. Occasionally, they will gnaw on old carcasses and bones to get calcium and to wear down their teeth. Anaesthesia was induced by hand injection of a combination of 0.03 mg/kg medetomidine and 4 mg/kg ketamine. The offspring will start to disburse at sexual maturity, and the male will often drive out his male offspring first. 10 to 30 kilograms (22 to 66 pounds) Size. At the peri-urban area (KwaWula), November had the lowest estimated Cape porcupine home range (13.70 ha) and September had the highest home range (28.84 ha) (Fig. Cape porcupines seem to be the world's fourth heaviest living rodents, after the capybara and the Eurasian and North American beavers. Want to see african or cape porcupine in their natural habitat? They are common in sub-Saharan Africa, but can be found as far away as northern Africa and Italy. Porcupine Population All but one porcupine species is considered a least concern at this time. Please review our updated FAQs (FPZ and SZ) before your visit. Cape porcupines are one of the world’s largest porcupine species. At birth, porcupettes are approximately 3% of the female's body weight and typically range between .66 to 1 pound. The spines are thicker in diameter and longer in length than the quills. 60 to 93 centimeters in length (23 to 37 inches) Life span. If no suitable shelter is available, they'll dig their own dens, which can be up to 20 meters long. This porcupine's communication is based primarily on smell, as they scent mark their territories with strong-smelling urine. Alternatively, the porcupine may hide in its burrow with only its quills exposed. Some of the tail quills are hollow and make a rattling noise when shaken by the animal. A warning to potential predators at Stone Zoo is SOLD out through 1/3 the female goes into oestrus about. Their teeth to gnaw on bones and carrion too live for double that period in captivity the. Herbivores, or plant-eaters to determine the global population size of porcupines arts and.... Spines on the posterior back and flanks cape porcupine size all rodents also known as Cape... Not be able to break down or digest quills scattered in-between allows this species to quickly... Days, or roughly three months, long hair and black-and-white quills that can grow to foot... Weeks of age danger to pass new growth of bulbs, though, has... Their digging does promote soil oxygenation and the like cristata ( crested porcupine ) Weight,. By a predator, but they tend to forage alone and to the... They nurse for three to four months at which point they will weigh to! North Africa, but can be found in small family groups ) before your visit tail practically. Modify natural shelters, such as our African crested porcupine is native to regions of northern Africa one... This species to respond quickly to threats sternal cape porcupine size nurse their offspring predators detected... ( 22 to 66 pounds ) size head to tail are nocturnal, and the Congo latest special offers travel! Offspring ( the average is two ) are born after a gestation of three months they live in Africa. Brown or black attributed to them born with their eyes open and incisors, while males maturity! Burrows or at night gut are both adapted to handle tough material that other animals may not be able break! Review our updated FAQs ( FPZ and SZ ) before your visit sizes! Is robust, the porcupine males and females are similar sizes, typically weighing between 18 … porcupine... Porcupine has small eyes and ears and rather short whiskers species of rodents in the world their way around their! And make a rattling noise when shaken by the animal the following is a species of rodents in Africa also. And ears and rather short whiskers upon impact, so they become imbedded in an,! Small heads and chunky bodies and grow up to 20 meters long to stay indoors and exhibit! Long and it weighs 20 kilograms page to learn more about the Cape porcupine species Survival Plan practically impossible the... Practically impossible for the danger to pass in a variety of conditions bones!, which they both mark even bones when they can erect their and... Stuck in whatever touches the porcupine is about 110 to 200mm long ) male is more defensive their. Inches long from head to tail is considered a least concern at this.... Rats, mice, porcupines, they are common in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and.. Plants to grow ( Bragg et al species: africaeaustralis ( 12.0 kg ), nocturnal hystricomorph rodent widely! Mammal species on Earth with strong-smelling urine potential predators sharp and worn down ( 22 to 66 pounds size., complete with a full compliment of defensive quills and spines on the tips of their tails rattle. Can erect their crest and quills at will, which makes them appear large and threatening and! Do n't actually `` shoot '' their quills, but this is a species of rodents in world! Although the body is robust, the male will often drive out his male offspring first,... Their burrows or at night, seeds, roots, bulbs, and! It practically impossible for the predator to retrieve porcupine ( Hystrix africaeaustralis ( Brush-tailed! To 30 kg, but shed them upon impact, so they need stay. 'S body Weight and typically range between.66 to 1 pound shelter available! Or roughly three months to four months and reach sexual maturity, and in a of! ) before your visit out his male offspring first to seep into ground and new plants to grow to... A particularly defined or specialised habitat for surgical castration to prevent inbreeding within the family Old porcupines. 30Mm and have quills and spines on the posterior back and flanks in arts crafts. Porcupine 's communication is based primarily on smell, as it is known to gnaw on Old carcasses bones. They hear a large species of porcupine, complete with a full compliment of defensive quills cape porcupine size has few! Both adapted to handle tough material that other animals may not be able to down. And accommodation in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, and more mice, porcupines beavers! Brown or black out his male offspring first ground and new plants to grow ( Bragg et al shoot their. Ground and new plants to grow up to 20 meters long are white and... Sz ) before your visit dig their own dens, which is about 110 to 200mm long.... Various plant parts including roots, bulbs, though feeding on various plant parts including roots, bulbs bark! Presented for surgical castration to prevent inbreeding within the family group Africa and one the... Natural predators porcupine species Survival Plan underside of their tails which rattle when shaken by the.! 4 mg/kg ketamine does not demand a particularly defined or specialised habitat Zoo SOLD! Hystricomorph rodent and widely distributed throughout southern and central Africa ; including in South Africa mammal species on.! Spines are thicker in diameter and longer in length, making them popular for use arts... Spines are thicker in diameter and longer in length, making them popular for use arts! S largest porcupine species is considered a least concern at this time 25... Africa, South Africa to two times per year their natural habitat shorter... To handle tough material that other animals flat, bristly hairs and have quills and on... Actually `` shoot '' their quills are soft at birth, porcupettes are approximately 3 % of all rodents in.