These 5 week-old babies love their ba-ba but also ALREADY
eat solid foods.
There are two families or porcupines, Hystricidae (Old World Porcupines)
and Erethizontidae (New World Porcupines). There are many similarities between
the two families, but for this text, we will consider only the African Crested
Porcupine. They inhabit deserts, grasslands and adjoining forests.
Species: Cristata or Africaeaustralis
They have a stocky body with short legs. Their body, head and tail are covered
with a coating of hair and a variety of bristles and quills. The africaeaustralis
is larger with longer, heavier quills. Their quills are not barbed as they are
in the New World Porcupines. The quills are of varying length and diameter but
some of these quills can be as long as 15 inches and 3/8" in diameter. They have
the ability to rattle their quills when alarmed. This species has rattle quills
in its tail that are larger and hollow on the end furthest from the body. These
quills are hollow and produce a hissing rattle when the tail is vibrated. If you
wish to purchase some quills see Quills For Sale.
Their tail is short in comparison to other porcupines. They have four clawed
digits on the forefeet and five digits on the hind feet. Their dentition
is i1/1, c0/0, p1/1, m3/3 x 2 for a total of 20 teeth. They are black in
color with white rings on the quills and a crest on the head. Their normal
body temperature is 99-100 degrees F.
Females have 2-3 pairs of teats in two rows located just behind the shoulders,
on the side of the chest. The male has no external scrotum. The penis can
be palpated through the skin in the area just anterior to the anus. Breeding
normally takes place from March to December in the wild but in captivity,
it takes place all year round. Their estrus cycle is about 35 days and gestation
is from 93 to 112 days. The litter can be from one to four can be two babies.
They are born with their eyes open and soft quills. The mother is very dedicated
and will protect her baby with great ferocity. They weigh 12 oz. at birth
and nurse for about 3-1/2 months. Sexual maturity is at 9 to 18 months.
Mating can understandably be quite a ritual. The female must be receptive
or she will act very aggressively towards a courting male. If she is receptive,
the male begins by standing motionless in front of the female. He approaches
her and retreats back and forth over and over making vocalizations to her.
When she decides the time is right, she put her tail up and he mounts by
clasping her sides with his front paws and balancing on his hind feet. They
are mainly terrestrial and nocturnal in habit. They inhabit crevices, caves
or burrows, mostly dug by other animals. They usually drag leaf and plant
material into their nest. In the wild they eat vegetable matter and some
carrion. They enjoy gnawing trees, bushes and bones. They shuffle as they
run and can gallop if necessary. They are good swimmers and can climb if
necessary. This species has quills that are used as ornaments and talismans.
They hunted for their meat and are considered agricultural pests in many
areas where they damage crops and trees by chewing the bark. The New World
porcupines have an average live span of 10 years while Old World porcupines
live an average of 20 years.
Although these animals usually forage alone, they may be found in small
family groups in their den.
Enclosures for captive adult animals should be have no more than 2" x 4"
openings, and should prevent escape by climbing, by using a cover. Provide
a place they can hide, like a dog igloo or tunnel made of wood. Or stack
hay bales up to form a wall in an inside enclosure. Avid chewers they will
prune anything possible.
1/2 cup monkey chow
1/2 cup dog food
1/4 cup sweet horse feed
1/2 cup rodent block
2 tbs. sunflower seeds
1/4 cup cracked corn
Fresh vegetables/fruits: carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage, greens, apples,
Free choice hay and non-toxic branches (willow, birch, etc.)
Purina Lagomorph, Purina Mazuri Browser and Purina Mazuri Omnivore Zoo A
Diets and rodent block can be added. The browser diet is a good source of
the type of fiber the porcupine eats in the wild
This mom has two new babies. Their bodies are about the size
of a goose egg when born.
We hesitate to list quantities because individuals vary according to size,
sex, maturity, activity level, stage of pregnancy or lactation. Use this
only as a guide, and monitor the animals weight and appetite. If the animal
is gaining too much weight, reduce the portion of food across the board,
not one or two items. Pregnant or nursing mothers will need a larger portion,
sometimes 2-3 times the normal diet for that individual.
Porcupines have a craving for salt and will gnaw on anything that may contain
it such as worn gloves, shovel handles, etc. Furnish them with trace mineral
salt sprinkled on their food or provide a trace mineral salt block. Be sure
that they are not consuming too much salt if you put in a block.
In addition to the normal diet, all rodents MUST have something non-toxic
to chew on such as willow or birch branches. Check with your county extension
agent or poison control center if you wish to feed branches from trees you
do not know are absolutely safe. If they do not have chewies, their teeth
will not wear down properly and can grow extremely long causing injury to
the roof of their mouth and other mouth parts.
Infants can be hand-reared using Esbilac with added vitamins. At one week
of age, we blend in one cup of cooked, peeled sweet potato per quart of
Esbilac. We mix the Esbilac 1 part powder to 2 parts water. We use a cross
cut nipple to handle the thicker liquid. Be sure to eliminate any lumps
or the nipple will get clogged. They should be kept at 75 degrees F. Feed
every three hours until 3 weeks old, day and night. The next two weeks increase
feedings, and decrease number of times per day, eliminating night feedings.
From three days of age, offer solids including grass hay, romaine lettuce,
grains, bread, rodent pellets, bark, roots, nuts, berries, fruits. When
eating well, at about 10 weeks, eliminate milk.
A slip nylon collar can be used as a guide from 1 to 2 weeks of age. Be
certain that the baby is getting proper air and above all - be gentle!
Some babies are slightly more resistant to handling. On these babies or
ones we leave with the parents until 2 weeks, we pick up the baby with a
doubled bath towel and cradle it with its feet pointing downwards and its
head level. Offer the nipple. If it does not take the nipple, insert it
into the mouth between the incisors and molars and rub it against the roof
of the mouth.
Punk Rock or body piercing anyone?
African Crested Porcupines
R-Zu-2-U Animal "Terms"
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