Cape Porcupine


Sub-saharan Africa, excluding the coastal desert of the SW.


Savanna, Shrubland, Grassland, Terrestrial.


Cape porcupines are nocturnal and solitary but may live in small family groups. Both parents are involved in raising the young and there are usually about six family members in a clan. They can be aggressive when protecting themselves and their family. They use acute hearing to hear predators approaching and can run backwards to embed their sharp quills into the predator.


The spines and quills can be dangerous even during mating. The females will initiate copulation by presenting to the males. Males reach sexual maturity anywhere between eight and eighteen months; the females between nine and sixteen months. Females are pregnant for three months and can give birth to litters of one to four porcupettes. After the young are weaned (3 – 4 months) the adult female cannot conceive for another three to five months.  

Cool Facts

-Known to expose tree’s heartwood (ring-barking trees) which increases the tree’s susceptibility to fungal infections.

-Build dens which can be up to 65 feet long with a six foot deep living chamber.

-The cape porcupine’s enlarged appendix and anterior larger intestine contain microorganisms that break down undigested plant fibers.