African crested porcupines are the largest species of porcupines found in Africa. As nocturnal animals, porcupines use their long whiskers to help them feel around in the dark when foraging. Their diet consists of tubers, bark, bulbs, fruit, and roots and they can travel up to 9 miles per night during their search for food.

The species has sharp, sturdy quills that can act as a highly effective way of protecting itself against predators. Its body is covered with coarse quills from 1 to 13 inches long. Contrary to popular belief, porcupines do not shoot their quills though they do fall out easily.

Did You Know?
Though African crested porcupines are not an endangered species, they are seen as “agricultural pests” as they eat cultivated crops. Farmers hunt them or smoke them out of their burrows— some farmers even illegally kill them with poison. African crested porcupines are also commonly killed for their quills, which are used as ornaments or decoration. In Northern Africa, these porcupines are killed and sold to be used for traditional medicinal purposes.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Rodentia
  • Family: Hystricidae
  • Genus: Hystrix
  • Species: H. Cristata
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