AFRICAN CRESTED PORCUPINE

HYSTRIX CRISTATA

CLASSIFICATION

  • Domain Eukarya: All organisms in this domain are single celled or multicellular. All organisms in this domain have a nucleus.
  • Kingdom Animalia: All organisms in this kingdom are single celled and multicellular, all have heterotrophs, and they all can move in some point in their life.
  • Phylum Chordata: Members have bilateral symmetry, a brain, and a complete digestive system.
  • SubPhylum Vertebrata: This group has a backbone, a bony or cartilaginous endoskeleton, and paired kidneys.
  • Class Mammalia: These animals produce milk with their mammary glands, they have hair that is presented in at least one stage of their life, and three inner ear bones.
  • Order Rodentia: These animals have dentition for gnawing, part of this dentition is that they have a single pair of upper and lower incisors, and they have a well developed pteygoid.
  • Family Hystricidae: Members of the porcupine family have massive and broad heads, forefeet with 5 digits, hindfeet with 5 functional with small claws.
  • Genus Hystrix: This genus only includes the crested porcupine.
  • Species: Hystrix cristata

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

  • Length: On average, the porcupines body length is 600-930 mm, while its tail, on average, is 80-170 mm.
  • Weight: On average, the porcupine weighs between 10-30 kg.
  • Color: The young, have black and white striped quills. They also have 5 whites stripes on their side after birth. The adult quills are striped in light and dark brown bands. Also they adults head, neck, shoulders, limbs, and underside of body are covered in dark brown and black bristles.
  • Natural Range: These Porcupines are usually found in Italy, Sicily, Mediterranean coast of Africa, Northern Zaire, and Tanzania
  • Diet: Porcupines are herbivores, they eat bark, roots, tubers, rhizomes, bulbs, fallen fruits, and cultivated crops. They occasionally consume insects, small vertebrates, and carrion.
  • Habitat Description: The Porcupine is highly adaptable to environments. They mainly habitat forests, rocky areas, mountains, croplands, sand hill deserts.
  • Predators: The main predators of porcupines are lions, hyenas, leopards, and birds of prey.

PHYSICAL ADAPTATIONS

The African Crested Porcupine is light brown and dark brown in color with a slight bit of black and white in the young. They can use their color to hide in their burrow unnoticed if a predator is nearby. On the African Crested Porcupine they have digits in their forefeet and hind feet and in the digits there are claws. They can use the claws to dig burrow or if they need to scratch at food. In addition to their feet having claws they are also naked and have padded soles. This helps them because at night the like to scavenge and they will look for a long time and travel a long distance and with their padded soles on their feet it helps with the terrain. In the jaw of a African Crested Porcupine their are five teeth - one incisor, one premolar, and three molars. This helps them because the incisors are very sharp and they help with breaking down food and and chewing it up. One of the most important parts of the African Crested Porcupine is the quills. Quills are modified hairs that can grow to be up to one foot long. This helps the porcupine because they can be used as a self defense mechanism. Since they are barbed, whenever a predator tries to take a quills out it will go in deeper.

BEHAVIORAL ADAPTATIONS

The behavior of African Crested Porcupines can range from several different things. African Crested Porcupines associate with others of the same species, then they form social groups. Then with there social groups they can scavenge for food are all defend a predator if they attack. They can be very motile when a predator finds their burrow, this help them so if a predator finds them but decides to come back for them the African Crested Porcupines can make a move on and change their burrows with a blink of an eye. They can easily defend themselves but simply, raise and fan quills to form and illusion that they are of greater size, if the problem continues they, stamp their feet, whirl their quills, and charge, back end first, at the predator, attempting to stab it with the thicker, shorter quills. African Crested Porcupines do have poor eye sight but they have excellent hearing and smelling. They can use this great hearing to listening if any predators are incoming and get away. They also have this great smelling of theirs so they can smell and berries or fruits or vegetables so they can get a meal. The African Crested Porcupine is a nocturnal animals, which means it sleeps mostly during the day and is awake at night. This is a great plus because they can scavenge for food such as roots, tubers, bulbs, bark, fallen berries and other food without any predators harming them.

References

References

African Crested Porcupine. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Maryland Zoo website: http://www.marylandzoo.org/animals-conservation/mammals/african-crested-porcupine/


Burton, M. (2002). African Crested Porcupine. In International wildlife encyclopedia (3rd ed., Vol. 5, pp. 595-597). New York, NY: Marshall Cavendish.


Crested Porcupines. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crested_porcupine


McPhee, M. 2003. "Hystrix cristata" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed March 11, 2015 at

http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Hystrix_cristata/