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The Porcupines of Timbavati Wildlife Park

By Chris Taylor Sunday, December 16, 2018

Greetings friends and welcome to this week’s blog post. If you’re looking something cool to do over the Christmas break remember we’re open most days. Check our website for Encounter Tour times and the days we’re open. This week I figured we could pop on over to the waterfalls area and take a look at our pals the porcupines.

Did you know that the porcupine is the 3rd largest rodent in the world? We know the capybara is number one and the distinction of number two goes to the beaver. Another fun fact is that porcupines have roughly 30,000 covering their bodies?

Here are some other interesting porcupine tidbits. Their backs aren’t all quills; the quills are mixed with hair. The quills will lay flat until the porcupine feels threatened and then they are extended to protect the little critters. Once the quills have come out they grow new ones.

Porcupines are herbivores, in the winter they munch on tree bark and evergreen needles. In summer they consume things like, grasses, leaves and dandelions. They have even been known to gnaw on canoe paddles at campsites. Porcupines are nocturnal and are good swimmers.

Porcupines Get Around

Porcupines live in dens, which can range from rock crevices to hollow logs to crawl spaces under your house. They seem to prefer grasslands but are equally at home in rocky terrains. The African Crested Porcupine is a native of Mount Kilimanjaro and has been spotted at elevations as high as 11,000 feet, that’s over 2 miles high.

A porcupine’s quills are large and of course dangerous. The slightest touch can dislodge them. The quills also have small barbs on them like the stinger on a bee or like the barb on a fishing hook. This means that if you’re unfortunate enough to have gotten hooked on a porcupine’s quills that you’re going to experience a significant amount of trauma removing them.

Don’t just take my word for it though, check out this week’s video with Becky as she talks to a couple of our visitors about how prickly these porcupines can actually be. Talk with you all next week!

 

 

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