About
Animal Facts
Common Name:
Cape Porcupine
Scientific Name:
Hystrix africaeaustralis
Behavior:
  • These porcupines are solitary and territorial.
  • Monogamous, they live in family groups consisting of parents and offspring from the past few years.
  • When threatened, they erect their 10 inch quills and run backward or sideways at the threat.
Diet:
Herbivore
Weight:
40 lb
Length:
2.5 ft
Life Span:
13 yrs
Gestation Period:
90 days
Number of Young:
1-3
Habitats:
  • Grassland
  • Rocky Areas
  • Savanna
Fun Facts:
  • Quills are modified hairs that can come off easily but cannot be "shot" at an attacker.
  • May gnaw on bones to keep incisors sharp and recycle some minerals.
  • Quills on baby porcupines ("porcupettes") are soft when born, but harden quickly after birth.
  • Strong digging claws help them get to roots and tubers underground.
Endangered Status
Endangered Status
  • Extinct in Wild (EW)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Not Evaluated (NE)

The porcupine’s keepers routinely take her for walks in the Desert dome before the Zoo opens. This gives her the chance to socialize with keepers, exercise, and practice training behaviors such as target, station, follow, and crate.  The walks also provide great enrichment because of all the sights, smells, and sounds of the other animals in the habitat.

Saving Species Plan Logo

This species is cooperatively managed as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan program program. This program is responsible for developing a Breeding and Transfer Plan for each species in the program.