Indian Porcupine

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Overview:

A male tiger was recently found dead at Kazhudhakatti stream in the Tirupur forest division located in Tamil Nadu due to injuries sustained in a fight with a porcupine.

About Indian Porcupine

  • It is a large rodent native to Southern Asia and the Middle East.
  • It belongs to the Old World porcupine family, Hystricidae.
  • Scientific Name: Hystrix indica
  • Geographical Range: It is found throughout southeast and central Asia and in parts of the Middle East, including such countries as India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.
  • Habitat:
  • It mainly occurs on rocky hill sides but is also found in tropical and temperate scrublands, grasslands, and forests.
  • They are also found throughout the Himalayan Mountains, reaching up to elevations of 2400 meters. 
  • Features:
    • On average, the Indian porcupine's head and body measure 70-90 centimeters (cm) in length, with a very short tail and spines flowing from the forehead all over its body.
    • Weight: 10-20 kg
    • Average Lifespan: 18 to 20 years
    • Quills: A porcupine’s best defense is the formidable set of quills on its back. But it can’t “throw” them. When alarmed, the Indian Porcupine launches its quill for a backward attack. The quills come loose and stick to the skin, eyes, or mouth.
    • Each quill is brown or black in color, with alternating bands of white.
    • The feet and hands are broad, with long claws that are used for burrowing.
    • It is nocturnal, with the species seeking shelter in caves, between rocks, or in its burrow during the day.
    • Diet: They have a very broad and mostly herbivorous diet. They primarily feed on fruits, grains, roots, and other vegetable material, supplementing their diet by chewing bones, which provide them with the required minerals.
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Least Concerned

Q1) What are Rodents?

Rodents are mammals with extra-large front teeth, or incisors. They use these teeth for gnawing to get at food and find shelter. There are three main groups of rodents: squirrels, mouse-like rodents, and cavy-like rodents.