The crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata) also known as the African crested porcupine, is a species of rodent in the family Hystricidae native to Italy, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.
The adult crested porcupine has an average head and body length around 60 to 83 cm (24 to 33 in) long, discounting the tail, and weighs from 13 to 27 kg (29 to 60 lb). It is one of the largest rodents in the world.
Almost the entire body is covered with bristles which are either dark brown or black and rather coarse. This mammal is recognizable by the quills that run along the head, nape, and back that can be raised into a crest, hence the name crested porcupine. Also, some sturdier quills which are about 35 cm (14 in) in length run along the sides and back half of the body. These sturdier quills are used, for the most part, for defense and are usually marked with light and dark bands which alternate; these are not firmly attached. This porcupine has a shorter tail which has rattle quills at the end. The rattle quills broaden at the terminal end and the broad portion is hollow with thin walls. When these quills are vibrated, they produce a hiss-like rattle.
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They are native to Italy, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa in scrubland, dry rocky areas, forests and abandoned farm land.
African Crested Porcupines are omnivores and eat roots, bark, cultivated crops, insects and small invertebrates.
Up to 20 years.
Very social by nature, the African Crested Porcupine pair bond for life and live in small family groups. However, they often forage for food on their own. The African Crested Porcupine is the largest rodent in Africa and the largest porcupine in the world.