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Cape porcupine

Hystrix africaeaustralis

Cape porcupine

Contrary to popular belief, a porcupine does not shoot out its quills, but when a porcupine is alarmed, it makes its quills stick out and rattles its tail. The quills on the tail make a loud noise when shaken. It will also run sideways or backwards to try to pierce an attacker with the sharp quills which can
inflict painful wounds.

Animal class

Rocky hills

Diet - Omnivorous
Cape porcupines eat mainly roots, tubers and bulbs. They will also take fruit and bark. It has been known to gnaw on bones and carrion too.

Their body length can be up to 90 centimetres and can weigh up to 15 kilograms..

Cape porcupines are from sub-Saharan Africa.

Conservation status
The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) considers that the Cape porcupine is not yet in danger of extinction in the wild.

Habitat destruction, being hunted for food and being persecuted as pests are threats to porcupine numbers.

Current population
Few studies have been done but Cape porcupine population numbers appear to be stable for the present.

Zoo population
There is no European Breeding Programme (EEP) for Cape porcupine at present. There are around 150 Cape porcupines in zoos around the world.

Key to acronyms

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

EEP - European Endangered Species Programme

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