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Cape porcupine

Hystrix africaeaustralis

Contrary to popular belief, a porcupine does not shoot out its quills, but when a porcupine is alarmed, it makes its quills stick out and rattles its tail. The quills on the tail make a loud noise when shaken. It will also run sideways or backwards to try to pierce an attacker with the sharp quills which can inflict painful wounds.

Their body length can be up to 90 centimetres and can weigh up to 15 kilograms.

Our group of cape porcupines came from a European zoo that was closing.

IUCN Status

The IUCN status of the Cape porcupine is least concern.

For more info on classifications visit

  Fun fact Baby porcupines are called porcupettes.

Animal class


Conservation status

Not in danger of extinction. However, the species is under threat from habitat destruction, hunting and being persecuted as pests.


Savanna, grassland, shrubland – found in sub-Saharan Africa.


Wild Cape porcupine numbers are currently stable.


Omnivore – eats mainly roots, tubers and bulbs but also eats fruit, bark and will gnaw on bones and carrion.