African Crested Porcupine

Hystrix cristata


Domain Eukarya- This domain has organisms that can be both single-celled and multicellular and they have a nucleus

Kingdom Animalia- All members of animalia are multicellular, heterotrophs(means they rely directly on other organisms for their nourishment), and all of them are capable of movement in some stage of their life.

Phylum Chordata- All members in this group have bilateral symmetry, closed blood system, and a hard bony endoskeleton.

Subphylum Vertebrata- Has organisms that have a ventral heart with about 2-4 chambers, a digestive system with large digestive glands, and a cartilaginous endoskeleton.

Class Mammalia- Members in this class have specialized hair called whiskers or "vibrissae", have colored hair, and have a additional protective layer that plays a role in defense.

Order Rodentia- Members in this level of classification have strong dentition, blade of chisel, and have a main healthy muscle.

Family Hystricidae- Members in this family have strong forelimbs and hindlimbs, have quills, and have long skulls.

Genus Hystrix- This genus only includes the crested porcupine.

Species- Hystrix cristata

General Description

Height- The height of the Crested Porcupine is about 3 feet.

Length- The average length of this animal is about 600-930 mm long with a tail extending to be about 80-170 mm long.

Weight- The average mass of the Crested Porcupine is about 0.02 kg or 0.04 lbs.

Color- Usually for a male and female there would be a dark brown color on their body and belly, and there is really no difference for the child either.

Natural Range- Found along the mediterranean coast of Africa to northern Zaire and Tanzania

Diet- Usually eat tree bark, leaves, roots, branches, berries, or any type of grassy food

Habitat- Live in areas such as caves, mountains, rocky areas, and hot regions

Predators- Crested porcupines' children and themselves are in high risk from dangerous animals like lions and leopards

Physical Adaptations

Some physical adaptations for this animal are that they have dangerous quills that extend to 1 foot or 30 cm. These quills help defend the porcupine from predators and they can cut deep into their enemies' flesh. Some dead animals are found with quills stuck to their body. Another adaptation is that they have sharp claws. These help because they can dig burrows more easier and it will take less time. Also another adaptation is that they have excellent eyesight. This helps them survive because at night they can see more clearer. Another adaptation is that they have good prehensile tails. This helps them because it aids them in climbing which plays a major role in getting food. The final adaptation is that they have shades of brown colors on their skin. This helps in camouflage which prevents them from getting caught or captured by predators.

Behavioral Adaptations

Some behavioral adaptations for this animal is that they rattle their tufts on their quills to show that they are frightened. This helps scare away predators that want to attack the Crested Porcupine. Another behavioral adaptation is that they dig deep tunnels. This helps from getting seen or caught by any enemy or predator, and they can also stay warm as well. Also another adaptation is that they always protect their young. This helps because it affects the whole species of Crested Porcupines. If any predator threatens a Crested Porcupine's child, the parent will immediately rampage and starts to stick its quills deep into the enemy's body. Another adaptation is that they run as fast as they could so that they could catch falling berries. This helps because berries are part of their diet and berries are their favorite meal. The final adaptation is that they protect their habitat and home. This helps because then no enemy can attack the porcupine's children and no one can steal any property.
Baby African Crested Porcupine-Cincinnati Zoo


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

Crested Porcupine. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2015, from Edmonton website:

Elsbeth McPhee, M. (2003, May 22). Hystrix cristata north african porcupine. Retrieved March 11, 2015, from Animal Diversity Web website:

Porcupine [Fact sheet]. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2015, from National Geographic website:

Cinncinati Zoo. (n.d.). African Crested Porcupine-Cincinnati Zoo [Video file].
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