our animals

African Crested Porcupine

Hystrix Cristata

The African crested porcupine is the world’s largest species of porcupine. They are nocturnal animals, so they mostly sleep inside their burrows during the day and forage for food at night.

They will dig their own burrows or take over abandoned aardvark burrows. A family group will develop an extensive inter-connected burrow system.

As with all porcupine species, the African crested porcupine is covered in quills which it pushes in to potential threats – it is a myth that they are able to fire their quills out… Instead they will thrust or back them in to an assailant thus driving them in to the skin and muscle. The quills detach quite easily and will remain in the skin, which is where the quill firing myth originated. Such attacks have been known to kill lions, leopard, hyenas, and humans.

African Crested Porcupine

fun facts

Conservation Status:

Least concern


North Africa (as far south as Tanzania)


Forests, rocky areas, savannahs and deserts


Bark, roots, tubers, nuts, fruits, insects, and small vertebrates






110-115 days

Life Span:

25-28 yrs