African Cape Porcupine

ZOO LOCATION: Encounter Africa

Lifespan: Up to 10 years in the wild, up to 20 years in human care.

Diet: Fruits, roots, tubers, bulbs and bark.

Predators: Most predators don't have much luck when attacking the Cape porcupine. When cornered, porcupines will charge and stab with quills.

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Habitat/Range: Rocky outcrops and hills of southern and central Africa. Can also be found in dense forests and dry deserts.

Characteristics: 40 to 60 pounds; 25 to 32 inches long from head to base of tail, with the tail reaching another 4 to 8 inches. At birth, the quills and spines on Cape porcupines are soft. With air contact, they quickly harden and become very sharp. The spines and quills can sometimes shed like hair, or fall off when touched by a predator. They grow back quickly, though.

Behavior: Special digestive systems help Cape porcupines easily adapt to various ecosystems. Primarily nocturnal, they usually occupy extensive burrow systems during the day. African Cape porcupines are monogamous. Their babies are born looking like tiny adults, including teeth, quills and opened eyes.