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Monday, 12 November 2012

"P" is for Porcupine

CCF has carried out a number of camera trapping surveys, and also maintains a network of cameras positioned for ongoing monitoring of the wildlife on our land.  While we are mainly focused on cheetahs, there are many other species out there, and the cameras will trigger no matter what passes them by.  In this series of weekly blog entries, I will use these pictures to illustrate some of the wealth of animal life in Namibia - one species per week.  I hope you will enjoy seeing a little more of our world here in the bush.

Absolutely unmistakable for anything else in the area, the Cape Porcupine is one of three porcupine species in Africa, but the only one to be found in Namibia. They can also be found in southern Kenya, Uganda, and the DRC, and throughout most of the mainland countries further south, though they avoid desert regions in Namibia and Botswana.  They are relatively common, and believed to be stable in numbers, with the IUCN listing them as "Least Concern".

The Cape Porcupine is large for a rodent - up to 1m (39 inches) in length and 24 kg (53 lbs).  They are almost entirely nocturnal and are commonly seen on night game counts, and foraging among the kitchen scraps at CCF's HotSpot cafenhere in Namibia. 

Porcupines are one of the few species that mate for reasons other than procreation.  They mate every day, in order to maintain the bond between the pair.

They are predominantly vegetarian, preferring roots, bark, bulbs and other plant material, but have been known to scavenge from old carcasses.  Although quills are popular souvenirs, porcupines shed enough of them to satisfy the demand and therefore are not usually hunted.  

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