Porcupine or Cape Porcupine [Hystrix africaeaustralis]
Both the male and female African Porcupines weigh from 18 to 30 kg (about 40 to 60 pounds) and are about two feet long. 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. 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 (80.0 cm vs 47.5 cm). African Porcupines are the largest rodent in their region. Females are, on average, about one kilogram heavier than males and both sexes are larger than half a meter long. They are also long-lived for rodents, surviving 12 to 15 years in the wild. These porcupines are covered with flat, bristly hairs and have quills and spines on the posterior back and flanks. The difference between quills and spines is largely one of length and thickness, with spines up to 50 cm long and quills up to 30 cm long. 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.