AFRICAN CRESTED PORCUPINE (Hystrix cristata) ©David Lansing
David Writes in his blog:
We were just bumbling along through the African bush in the darkness, going very slow both because it was difficult to see more than ten feet down the road…and because we weren’t at all sure where we were going. So we were all doing that thing you do at night when you’re a little bit lost on an unfamiliar road—leaning forwards and staring very intensely at the darkness directly in front of you. Suddenly there were several large black lumps moving across the road ten or twenty feet in front of us.
“Jesus!” Fletch said, startled. “What the hell is that?”
Calvin immediately stopped the Land Cruiser. And we all stared. At a family of African porcupines, a couple of them at least a couple of feet long, rambling across the rutted road.
“There aren’t porcupines in Africa, are there?” Fletch asked.
Crested porcupine, according to my wildlife guide, are the largest rodents in East Africa. “Their mainly nocturnal habits make them rare to see.” Well, good for us then.
The guide also said the belief that the quills can be shot by the animal is a myth. Evidently what they do, if threatened, is stamp their feet, click their teeth, and hiss at you (hmmm…sounds like an editor I know). If that doesn’t work, “the porcupine runs backward until it rams its attacker. The reverse charge is most effective because the hindquarters are the most heavily armed and the quills are directed to the rear.”
Brilliant. Click here for more.
Other photos you may enjoy:
North American Porcupine
Paraguayan Hairy Dwarf Porcupine
Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec