Adelaide Zoo

Animal Facts

  • Genus:

    Hystrix
  • Species:

    Hystrix africaeaustralis
  • Conservation
    Status:

    Least Concern

  • Found In:

    Africa
  • Length:

    60 - 100cm
  • Weight:

    10 - 27kgs

Meet the prickly porcupines!

Adelaide Zoo is home to two beautiful Cape Porcupines, Walter and Winnie.

Twin brothers Walter and Winnie arrived to Adelaide Zoo in May 2024, travelling from Monarto Safari Park. The twins were born to the park’s breeding pair Oliver and Rita in August 2023

Winnie is the more confident of the pair, while Walter is taking a little longer to build his confidence. The brothers have been exploring their new habitat, and snuggling up together under a heat lamp in the den.

Cape Porcupines are one of the largest rodents in the world – weighing up to a whopping 27kg and measuring almost one metre in length! These amazing mammals are covered in striking 35cm long, black and white quills, which provide excellent protection against predators such as lions and hyenas.

These guys are very traditional, finding a partner that they stay with for life. Because of their prickly exterior, porcupine mating can be tricky business, with the female flattening her quills against her back so she doesn’t poke her male companion. After a gestation period of 112 days, females give birth to a litter of one or two offspring known as porcupettes. These babies stay in a custom-built den lined with grass until they are around one week old.

Most of the action happens at night for these nocturnal animals, including meal times! Their diet consists of bark, roots, fallen fruits and sometimes insects and carrion. Unfortunately, crested porcupines also like to snack on cultivated crops making them a pest to farmers, sometimes leading to their hunt and capture. As well as being killed for meat, they are often killed for their quills, which are falsely believed to possess medicinal properties.

They inhabit a variety of habitats across sub-Saharan Africa including shrubland, forest and dry, rocky areas.

Love porcupines? Join our wild family today to make sure the species doesn’t get into a prickly situation! There are many ways you can help these gorgeous animals.

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