Prehensile-tailed porcupine

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Prehensile-tailed porcupines
Temporal range: Late Pleistocene to Recent
Prehensile-tailed porcupine.jpg
Coendou prehensilis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Erethizontidae
Subfamily: Erethizontinae
Genus: Coendou
Lacépède, 1799

Coendou bicolor
Coendou nycthemera
Coendou prehensilis
Coendou quichua
Coendou rothschildi
Coendou sanctamartae
Coendou speratus
Coendou baturitensis

The prehensile-tailed porcupines or coendous (genus Coendou) are found in Central and South America. They are closely related to the other Neotropical tree porcupines (genera Echinoprocta and Sphiggurus) .[1]


Among the most notable features of Coendou porcupines are their unspined prehensile tails. The front and hind feet are also modified for grasping. These limbs all contribute to making this animal an adept climber, an adaptation to living most of their lives in trees.[1]

They feeds on leaves, shoots, fruits, bark, roots, and buds. They can be pests of plantation crops.[1] They also make a distinctive "baby-like" sound to communicate in the wild.

Young are born with soft hair that hardens to quills with age. Adults are slow-moving and will roll into a ball when threatened and on the ground. The record longevity is 27 years.[2]


Woods & Kilpatrick 2005 argue that although members of the genus Sphiggurus are sometimes included in Coendou, the two are distinct enough to warrant recognition of separate genera.


  1. ^ a b c d Nowak 1999
  2. ^ Gorbunova, Bozzella & Seluanov 2008
  3. ^ Pontes, A.R.M.; Gadelha, J.R.; Melo, É.R.A.; SÁ, F.B.; Loss, A.C.; Caldara Jr, V.; Costa, L.P.; Leite, Y.L.R. (2013-04-05). "A new species of porcupine, genus Coendou (Rodentia: Erethizontidae) from the Atlantic forest of northeastern Brazil" (PDF). Zootaxa 3636 (3): 421–438. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3636.3.2. 
  4. ^ Feijó, Anderson; Langguth, Alfredo (2013-09-12). "A new species of porcupine from the Baturité range". Revista Nordestina de Biologia 22 (1/2): 124–126. 
  5. ^ "New Discovery: Porcupine Species Identified in Brazil". National Geographic. 2013-12-10. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  6. ^ "Coendou baturitensis: New Porcupine Discovered in Brazil". 2013-12-02. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  • Gorbunova, V; Bozzella, MJ; Seluanov, A (September 2008). "Rodents for comparative aging studies: from mice to beavers". Age (Dordr) 30 (2–3): 111–119. doi:10.1007/s11357-008-9053-4. 
  • Nowak, Ronald M (1999). Walker's Mammals of the World (6th ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-5789-9. 
  • Woods, C. A.; Kilpatrick, C. W. (2005). "Hystricognathi". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World a Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Washington D.C: Smithsonian Institution Press. pp. 1538–1600.