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African Brush-tailed Porcupine
African-brush-tailed-porcupine-foraging
Information
Range Africa ranging from Guinea on the west coast to Kenya on the east.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Rodentia
Family Hystricidae
Genus Atherurus
Species Atherurus africanus
Conservation Status
LCSpecies
Least Concern

The African brush-tailed porcupine (Atherurus africanus), is a species of Old World porcupine, indigenous to a broad belt of Africa ranging from Guinea on the west coast to Kenya on the east.

African brush-tailed porcupines live in forests, usually at high elevations, and are nocturnal, sleeping in caves and burrows during the day. They are among the biggest rodents in Africa, with a body length of 36–60 cm (14–24 in), discounting a tail of about 10–26 cm (4–10 in) and weigh as much as 2.9 kg (6.4 lb). It has an elongated rat-like face and body and short legs, tipped with clawed and webbed feet. Unlike most other porcupines, the brush-tailed porcupine has lighter and smaller quills. On the tail, these quills are thinner and brush-like. These can make noise when rattled. Brush-tailed porcupines live in small family groups of about eight members. Different family groups can share resources. When attacked by a predator, the porcupine raises its quills so it looks twice its size, rattles its tail quills, and stomps its feet. As with all porcupines, the brush-tailed porcupine backs into the attacker and inflicts damage with its quills.

The African brush-tailed porcupine is mostly herbivorous. When alone eating, the porcupines can be quite nervous. During the breeding season, males and females form pair bonds to get acquainted. The African brush-tailed porcupine has a long pregnancy compared to other rodents: 110 days at the longest. The young are born well-developed or precocial. Porcupines reach maturity at two years of age.

The meat of the African brush-tailed porcupines is popular and is consumed in large quantities.

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