Place to admire: the Desert
Scientific name: Hystrix cristata
IUCN-status: Least concern
The Crested Porcupine or African Crested Porcupine is generally found in the northern part of Africa. In addition, the Crested Porcupine lives in Tuscany, southern Italy and on the island of Sicily. This is probably where the Romans released the Crested Porcupine.
The Crested Porcupine lives in savannas, steppes, open woodlands, highlands, gallery forests, forest edges and semi-deserts. It is not found in deserts and rainforests.
The Crested Porcupine belongs to the order of Rodents. This means that it mainly eats plants. Its diet consists of seeds, roots, tubers, fruits, and nuts. Sometimes, it also eats smaller animals such as frogs and carrion.
The Crested Porcupine has long, black, and white spines of about 50 centimeters. It uses these to scare off possible enemies by producing a rattling sound with these spines. The small capsules on its short tail also make a rattling sound during danger.
When deterrence fails, it straightens the spines on its back and storms toward the enemy. When the spines penetrate his enemy’s skin, they fall off. Getting the spines out of the skin is a difficult and painful process. This is because these spines have very sharp barbs.