AFRICAN CRESTED PORCUPINE
The African Crested Porcupine is a species of rodent. They have an average head and body length of 2-3 feet. Almost the entire body is covered with bristles which are either dark brown or black and rather course. They are recognizable by the quills that run along the head, nape and back that can be raised into a crest. Hence, the name crested porcupine. There are also some sturdier quills which are almost 12 inches in length that run along the sides and back half of the body. These are used, for the most part, for defense and are usually marked with light and dark bands which alternate - these are not firmly attached. When disturbed they raise and fan their quills to make themselves look bigger. This porcupine has a shorter tail with rattle quills at the end. When these quills are vibrated they produce a hiss-like rattle. The crested porcupine is for the most part herbivorous, eating roots, bulbs, and crops. But occasionally they do consume insects. To ingest calcium and sharpen incisors, they often gnaw on bones. Usually female crested porcupines have one litter per year. One or two very well developed young are born, but only after a 66 day gestation period on average. After one week the spines begin to harden. The crested porcupine is terristrial or ground dwelling, very seldom climbs trees, but can swim. They are nocturnal and monogamous.