(Latin: Hystrix africaeaustralis, Afrikaans: Ystervark)
The African Porcupine is a type of Rodent that has long sharp spines, up to 50cm long, which cover its whole back and can be raised by muscles under the skin. Both the male and female African Porcupines weigh from 10 to 24 kilograms (22 to 53 pounds) with very large specicimens weighing up to 30 kg (66 lb).
Although it is similar in appearance to the Echidna it is not closely related. The Echidna, also known as the spiny Anteater, is a type of Monotreme that is covered in stiff, sharp spines mixed with long, coarse hairs. Like the Echidna, the African Porcupine has a browny black coat and paler-coloured spines. The African Porcupine is twice the length of the Echidna. African Porcupines are the largest rodent in their region. The white and black crest of spines and quills can be erected at will to make the animal look enormous and threatening. Some spines on the tail are hollow and make a rattling sound when shaken. The very sharp spines and quills come off when touched by a predator or shaken off, but they grow back rapidly. African porcupines also have very long mobile whiskers.
When the porcupine is tired, it grunts and raises its black and white quills. There is one case of a leopard almost killed by a porcupine. Porcupines travel alone or in small family groups. They normally they sleep in the day and feed at night. The African Porcupine is primarily nocturnal, although it may be seen during the day. They have quite acute hearing and will freeze when approached by predators, such as big cats, large predatory birds, or hyenas.