Scientific name

Hystrix cristata (Crested Porcupine); Atherurus africanus (African Brush-tailed Porcupine); Hystrix africaeaustralis (Cape Porcupine)


10 to 30 kilograms (22 to 66 pounds)


60 to 93 centimeters in length (23 to 37 inches)

Life span

15 years in the wild; up to 20 years in captivity


Hilly, rocky country, woodland savanna




90 to 110 days


Pythons, leopards, large owls

Native to more than
African countries
Their quills are up to
centimeters long
Can weigh up to


Human-wildlife conflict threatens porcupines’ existence.

As human populations expand, humans and porcupines find themselves in increasingly close quarters. When porcupine populations close to cultivated areas surge, they can become serious agricultural pests. They are smoked out of their burrows and hunted with spears, nets, or dogs. These practices have eliminated them from densely settled areas.

They are targeted for their quills.

Porcupine quills have long been a favorite ornament and good-luck charm in Africa. The hollow rattle quills serve as musical instruments and were once used as containers for gold dust. In addition to being targeted for their quills, they are illegally hunted for their meat.


Our solutions to protecting the porcupine:

Provide education on sustainable growth.

African Wildlife Foundation educates communities about the importance of sustainable practices for agricultural and settlement growth by providing training on best practices and incentivizing conservation agriculture when appropriate.

Set aside land for wildlife.

AWF engages local communities to set aside land for wildlife to live undisturbed. In the Laikipia region of Kenya — which has no formal protected areas — we partnered with the Koija community and a private operator to construct the Koija Starbeds Lodge. Koija Starbeds sets aside land for wildlife while, at the same time, creating jobs and income for the local community.



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