Brush-tailed porcupine

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Brush-tailed porcupines
Temporal range: Early Pleistocene to Recent
Porcupine bushmeat in Cameroon.jpg
African brush-tailed porcupine sold for meat in Cameroon
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Hystricidae
Genus: Atherurus
Cuvier, 1829
Species

Atherurus africanus
Atherurus macrourus

The brush-tailed porcupines are a genus, Atherurus, of Old World porcupines found in Asia or Africa.

Characteristics[edit]

The brush-tailed porcupines have bodies covered in quills like their New World relatives. These quills are shorter and not as visually prominent as those seen in the genus Hystrix, but considerably more so than in Trichys. They have a prominent tuft on the tip of their tails which leads to their common name. The tail breaks off easily when the animal is threatened.

Their bodies are long and somewhat rat-like. They are forest dwellers and nocturnal, and feed on vegetation, but may take insects or carrion. The animals may live in social groups usually numbering six to eight. The longevity record for a captive animal was almost 23 years.

Species[edit]

The two species of Atherurus, an Asian and an African variety, are:

References[edit]

  • Nowak, Ronald M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, 6th edition. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1936 pp. ISBN 0-8018-5789-9