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African brush-tailed porcupine

Related subjects: Mammals

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African Brush-tailed Porcupine
African brush-tailed porcupine sold for meat in Cameroon
Conservation status

Least Concern ( IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Hystricidae
Genus: Atherurus
Species: A. africanus
Binomial name
Atherurus africanus
Gray, 1842

The African Brush-Tailed Porcupine (Atherurus africanus) is a species of rat-like Old World porcupine called " brush-tailed porcupines". The brush-tailed porcupines live in forests, usually at high elevations. They are nocturnal and during the day they sleep in caves and burrows. The brush-tailed porcupine is one of the biggest rodents in Africa, growing almost three feet long and weigh as much as eight pounds. 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 would back into the attacker and inflict damage with its quills.

The 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 Porcupine is very popular and is consumed in large quantities.

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