These large rodents can reach lengths of 23”-35” and are covered with coarse bristles which are longer on their necks, giving them their name. Their backs have thick quills that can be raised when the animal is frightened or excited. Some quills can reach lengths of a foot or more. These quills are used as a defense against predators. While the porcupine can not throw its quills but it will raise them and back in to a potential enemy. The quills are quite sharp and easily shed. They are a very effective form of protection even against such large predators as lions and hyenas. The crested porcupine does not have much of a tail, but does have a set of hollow quills that can be rattled together making a loud noise to warn away potential danger.
Crested porcupines are a member of the rodent family. They inhabit a large range of habitats including forest, grassland, dessert, and rocky mountain areas. They can be found in Northern and sub-Saharan Africa as well as Italy.
Like all rodents, porcupines’ incisor teeth continue to grow throughout their lives. They are often found chewing on old animal bones to wear their teeth down and to get calcium. Their main diet consists of plant matter such as roots bulbs, bark and fruits, and they will sometimes eat insects, small vertebrates and carrion. They are mostly nocturnal and can travel up to 9 miles in one night searching for food.
Crested porcupines are often monogamous, forming pairs that will stay together for life. The female gives birth to 1-3 well developed pups. These young may stay with the mother for several years before leaving to find mates of their own. Crested porcupines can live up to 15 years.