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Cape porcupine

Hystrix africaeaustralis

240704 PZ Cape Porcupine BC HR 02 scaled
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Mammals
Order: Rodentia
Family: Hystricidae

We have one male and one female Cape porcupine here at Paignton Zoo called Comet and Lulu. The pair came to us from Lotherton Zoo in Leeds in July 2024, and currently live in the enclosure next to our Red-necked ostrich.

Cape porcupines are native to sub-Saharan Africa, and can be found in a wide range of habitats, including grasslands, forests and rocky areas. These rodents primarily eat fruits, roots, tubers, bulbs, and bark.

Interesting facts!

  • Cape porcupines are the largest rodents in Africa and also the world’s largest porcupines.
  • They are excellent climbers, having been known to climb trees and shrubs to escape predators
  • As monogamous animals, cape porcupines form long-term pair bonds. The female gives birth to one to three offspring after a gestation period of around 94 days.


The Cape Porcupine is currently listed as a Least Concern species, due to its wide distribution, presumed large population, and its occurrence in a number of protected areas.

However, it’s worth noting that their population is decreasing in some regions due to habitat loss and hunting.