African Crested Porcupine

Our African Crested Porcupine, found at Southwick's Zoo in Mendon MA

Where to find the African Crested Porcupine (besides Southwick's Zoo in Mendon, MA!)
African Porcupine Facts
African Crested Porcupine
Hystrix cristata

Life Span
Wild: 15 years
Captivity: 20 years
28-34 inches
Average Weight
30-60 lbs
Group Name
Prickle or Herd
Group Size
Solitary/Small Groups
Name of Young

Our African Crested Porcupine, found at Southwick's Zoo in Mendon MAFacts

  • The crested porcupine is a terrestrial rodent.
  • They seldom climb trees, but can swim. Hollow quills allow them to stay buoyant.
  • At birth, a porcupine’s quills are white and soft, although they will begin to harden within hours. A baby porcupine’s eyes are open at birth and their incisors are already crowing shortly after.
  • Porcupines are precocial meaning they have a high degree of independent activity from birth.
  • To defend themselves, they raise and fan their quills, stamp their feet, and charge their disturber or attacker. However, porcupines cannot throw their quills. They can rattle their quills; this sound is known as “quivering.”
  • Porcupines are nocturnal, meaning active at night. Crested porcupines are often solitary, but may live together in small groups. They sometimes take over the burrows of sulcata tortoises.

Did You Know?

Porcupines are rodents, so they need to chew things to keep their teeth from growing too long. They may collect bones and store them in their burrow to gnaw on. Porcupines may travel up to 9 miles a night.