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Indian Crested Porcupine

Hystrix indica

Indian Crested Porcupine at Henry Vilas Zoo

About Indian Crested Porcupine

Layers on layers! The Indian crested porcupine has multiple layers of spines. Beneath the longer, thinner spines lies a layer of shorter and thicker ones. Each quill is brown and black in color, with alternating bands of white. The tail is covered with shorter spines that appear white in color. The spines on the porcupines tail will rattle if it feels irritated or alarmed.


They can be found throughout southeast and central Asia and in parts of the Middle East. The species can also be found in tropical and temperate scrublands, grasslands, and forests. They are also found throughout the Himalayan mountains, reaching up to elevations of 2,400 meters.


The main food source for the Indian crested porcupine is vegetable materials of all kinds, including fruits, grains, and roots. They will occasionally chew on bones in search of minerals that help their spines grow.

Family Life

This nocturnal animal burrows itself in sheltered caves or between rocks during the day. The burrow is usually self-constructed, with a long entrance tunnel and multiple exits. Mates will burrow their tunnels together as they prepare for the birth of their offspring.

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Indian Crested Porcupine is classified as least concern.
Least concern graphic


  • The Indian crested porcupine is common throughout its geographic range, as they do not currently face any significant threats. Their adaptability in a wide range of different habitats and food types helps ensure healthy populations.
  • Main predators of this species are primarily large cats and humans.

Facts about Indian Crested Porcupine

  • Class:
    Mammalia (mammals)
  • Order:
    Rodentia (rodents)
  • Family:
    Hystricidae (old world porcupines)
  • Genus:
    Hystrix (crested porcupines)
  • Species:
    Hystrix indica (Indian crested porcupine)
  • Life Span:
    22 – 26 years (zoo)
  • Size:
    2.6 – 3.2 feet (0.8 – 1 m)
  • Weight:
    24 – 40 pounds (11 – 18 kg)
  • Tail Length:
    3.1 – 3.9 inches (8 – 10 cm)

Fun Facts

  • If they feel strongly threatened, the porcupine will launch a backward attack by driving its rear spines into its enemy, often causing severe injury or death. These porcupines have been known to cause fatal injuries to large cats like tigers and leopards in the wild.
  • The Indian crested porcupine can adapt to many different types of environments, helping to keep stable population levels.

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