Fun Crested Porcupine Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Crested Porcupine Facts For Kids

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Do you want to know more about porcupines? Keeping reading to learn about the African crested porcupine.

The North African crested porcupine is considered to be one of the largest porcupines found across the globe. The African crested porcupine quills are of various lengths and mostly cover the hind part of the animal. These porcupines are slow-moving animals and these mammals are found on every continent across the globe except Antarctica. In Latin, the word 'porcupine' means a 'quill pig'. However, porcupines are not related to pigs. There are more than two dozen species of these animals. The smallest of these animals is the Bahia hairy dwarf porcupine.

Like reading about the African crested porcupine and want to know more about African crested porcupine? Continue reading for more fascinating facts.

If you like reading about the African crested porcupine, you may also like reading about the fox squirrel and the gray fox.

Fun Crested Porcupine Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Small vertebrates, insects, and carrion

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1-2 per year

How much do they weigh?

29- 59.5 lb (13.1 -27 kg)

How long are they?

23.6-32.6 in (60-83 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Brown, black, covered in quills, external ears, small eyes, feet, and padded paws

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Humans, Lions, And Leopards

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Grasslands, Savanna, Forests, Shrublands, And Rocky Areas


Sub-saharan Africa, Italy









Crested Porcupine Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a crested porcupine?

The African crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata) is a porcupine that belongs to the phylum Chordata. The animal belongs to the order Rodentia, meaning that they are rodents.

What class of animal does a crested porcupine belong to?

The crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata) belongs to the class Mammalia. This porcupine is a mammal.

How many crested porcupines are there in the world?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the recent population trend of the crested porcupine is unknown. The exact number of mature individuals of the African crested porcupine is also not known.

Where does a crested porcupine live?

The African crested porcupine habitat includes grasslands, shrublands, forests, savanna, and rocky areas. These porcupines are found in both artificial and terrestrial habitats.

What is a crested porcupine's habitat?

A crested porcupine's habitats range from Italy, Sub-Saharan Africa to North Africa.

Who do crested porcupines live with?

The African crested porcupine is found in small family groups in their habitat range. These small family groups are made of an adult pair and young ones of various ages. The family of these animals lives in burrows.

How long does a crested porcupine live?

The African crested porcupine lifespan in the wild is 15 years. In captivity, the animal may live for 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

The North African crested porcupine is a monogamous mammal, meaning mating behavior is exhibited with one partner. The mating behavior of the adult pair is interesting. Reproduction is a thorny affair with the double set of quills of the adult pair, both males and females, being involved. The gestation period of this class order is 66 days. However, there have been reports of the gestation timespan being 112 days. The females give birth to one litter per year, giving birth to one to two young ones. The birth of the young ones takes place in the burrow system. Young porcupines are born with well-developed teeth and the young are born with open eyes. The quills along the back of the porcupines are soft. The young ones are born within the burrow system but in a separate chamber that is grass-lined. The young leave the burrow system hidden amongst the trees once the quills along the back begin to harden after their birth.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, the status of crested porcupines from Africa is Least Concern.

Crested Porcupine Fun Facts

What does a crested porcupine look like?

The average length of the quills of this mammal is considerable. Crested porcupines have the largest quills amongst this species of animals. The crested porcupine height is considerable as well. The body of the mammal is covered in coarse bristles that are black or brown in color. The quills on the nape, head, and back can be raised into a crest, which is how this mammal got its name. The sturdier quills on the sides and half portion of the back are not attached firmly. They have small feet and padded paws. This mammal has external ears and small eyes.

A graceful Hystrix cristata from Africa may have a gestation period of 112 days.

How cute are they?

The North African crested porcupine is very cute. The quills on the body give them a unique appearance.

How do they communicate?

The North African crested porcupine rattles its quills in order to defend itself from predators such as hyenas. If bothered continuously, they will stamp their feet and attack the intruder with their short and thicker quills. These attacks have been known to fatally injure lions, leopards, and even humans.

How big is a crested porcupine?

The African crested porcupine size is big and it is bigger than the Bahia hairy dwarf porcupine. The length of an African crested porcupine is 23.6-32.6 in (60-83 cm). In comparison to hedgehogs, the African crested porcupine is around two to three times bigger in length than African pygmy hedgehogs.

How fast can a crested porcupine move?

Unfortunately, no verifiable information is available regarding their speed.

How much does a crested porcupine weigh?

The weight of an adult crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata) is 29- 59.5 lb (13.1 -27 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male porcupine is called a boar. The females of this species are called sows.

What would you call a baby crested porcupine?

An African crested porcupine baby is called a porcupette. The young ones are also called pups. Sometimes, they may also be simply referred to as a baby African crested porcupine.

What do they eat?

The African crested porcupine diet is omnivorous. The mammal's diet includes small vertebrates, insects, and carrion. This mammal's diet also includes bulbs, roots, tubers, and leaves of trees. The animals also consume root crops as part of their diet.

Are they poisonous?

If humans get attacked by the quills of crested porcupines, the wound, if not treated carefully, may lead to diseases like rabies. Also, the quills can get broken inside the body and move around the skin. This may also lead to severe infections.

Would they make a good pet?

The population of these rodents is essentially wild by nature and would not make good pets.

Did you know...

The Hystrix cristata is a nocturnal mammal. The population of these rodents is known to collect bones and the bones are kept hidden under the ground in caves or burrows. Humans sometimes dig up the bones from these burrows. The animals collect the bones from the skeletons of various other animals.

The porcupines are known by various names amongst the indigenous population in various countries. They are known as xadddee in the Oromo language, Kotoko in the Akan language, porcospino or istrice in Italy, qinfiz in the Tigrinya language, and jart in Amharic.

Though the porcupines live together, they forage alone in search of food. Sometimes they forage pretty long distances in search of food and may have to face lions, leopards, hyenas, and owls. Porcupines rest in the day in the burrows.

Porcupines cannot shoot their quills. However, the quills leave their body when touched.

The Indian crested porcupine is found in southern Asia and the Middle East. The scientific name of this animal is Hystrix indica.

What threats do crested porcupines face?

Crested porcupines face the threat of predation by lions, leopards, hyenas, pythons, and large owls. Also, as they forage alone on agricultural fields to feed on cultivated crops, roots tubers, and root crops, they face the danger of being attacked by humans. Due to these animals feeding on cultivated crops, they are considered to be agricultural pests. Farmers deploy different methods to ward off these agricultural pests.

What is the difference between a crested porcupine and a regular porcupine?

The difference between Old World porcupines, crested porcupines, and the New World, mostly arboreal porcupines, is the quills. Quills belonging to Old World porcupines are embedded in clusters, whereas in the New World species, the quills are mixed with soft hairs. Also, the difference lies in the pattern of teeth and the soles of the feet too.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our paca facts and gerbil facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Crested porcupine coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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