Cape porcupine

These iconic looking creatures can be found in north, east and south Africa.

Not only are they the largest rodents in Africa, they are also the world’s largest porcupine!

Nocturnal by nature they spend most of the day underground in burrows or hiding in crevices. They are monogamous, meaning they stay with one mate for life, with each pair having between one and three babies.

Although considered a pest in some areas due to them destroying crops, they're also doing some good. Porcupines love bark so when they strip it from trees they are actually helping reduce the growth of dense forests.

Our Cape porcupines live in our Kalahari Critters enclosure alongside our meerkats, not far from our lions.

Cape porcupine questions and answers

What do Cape porcupine eat?
It’s mainly vegetation, but they have been known to gnaw on bones and 'carrion' - dead rotting animals - in order to keep their teeth sharp and to absorb the minerals.

Do they have any predators?
They do indeed, namely big cats, birds of prey and hyenas.

What’s the difference between a ‘spine’ and a ‘quill’?
Oooh, about 20cm…no, it’s true. Spines can grow up to 50cm in length whereas quills only reach about 30cm.

How long do Cape porcupines live for?
In the wild it’s usually 12-15 years.

Zoo Membership

We're proud to be members of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). Our membership means we share knowledge with leading zoos across the UK and Europe, and we learn from them too.