Cape Porcupine

Hystrix africaeaustralia. Zulu: ingungumbane

Cape Porcupine


Central and Southern Africa


Woodlands, grasslands, deserts, rocky hills.


Fresh fruit and veges, roots, tubers, bark, insects.


90 - 100 days, one - three porcupettes born.


12 - 15 years in the wild, 15 - 20 years in captivity.


Lions, hyenas, leopards and birds of prey

Conservation Status:

Least concern


The Cape Porcupine is the world's largest porcupine, a heavily build animal with a stocky body, short limbs and an inconspicuous tail, the body is covered in long spines and sharp defence quills.

When threatened they will growl, snort and grunt. Otherwise communicating through snuffling noises and stomping their feet.

Cape Porcupines are nocturnal and monogamouse, typically living as a mated pair of adults, caring for any young together.

Fun fact: Cape Porcupine defence quills are hollow, and they can rattle to scare away predators. Contrary to popular belief, quills cannot be 'fired' at enemies, but will loosely embed in their skin upon contact.

At Hamilton Zoo:

Our Cape Porcupine family live with the Meerkat mob. But as shy nocturnal animals they can be quite difficult to see.

Take a peak into their den and you may be able to spy a bundle of spikey porcupines having a nap! Remember to keep quiet and don't bang on the windows.

We have five Cape Porcupines at Hamilton Zoo:
Ingozi (Mum), Ayanfe (Dad), Adana, Mkali and Thundi.