Mexican hairy porcupine

Sphiggurus mexicanus




Sphiggurus mexicanus (Kerr, 1792), Mexico. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Porc-épic arboricole du Mexique, porc-épic préhensile; German: Mexicanische Baumstachler; Spanish: Puerco espin.


Adults range from 21.5 to 31.5 in (55-80 cm) with a tail about a third to two-fifths of that total length, and weigh about 3-5.5 lb (1.5-2.5 kg). Dark brown to black porcupine with fur that covers most of the long spines on the body. The head is marked by yellowish spines that are visible through the fur, and by light-colored fur tufts near each ear. Like S. insidiosus, S. mexicanus has a prehensile tail that is naked distally. Young look similar to adults.


Southern Mexico to western Panama. HABITAT

Favors high-elevation forests, but occasionally found in lowland habitats.


Nocturnal and arboreal animals that spend their days sleeping in vegetation among branches, in tree hollows, or in bamboo undergrowth, although some evidence suggests they might also utilize dens and caves. A usually solitary animal, males will fight with other males, but will tolerate females.


Prefers fruits and seeds, but also eats leaves and buds.


Little known, but a typical litter likely numbers one. Young are precocial, born with hair and soft quills, which quickly stiffen to provide a level of defense.


Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Meat is used for food. ♦

Common name / Scientific name/ Other common names

Physical characteristics

Habitat and behavior



Conservation status

Bicolor-spined porcupine Coendou bicolor Spanish: Puerco-espin

Koopman's porcupine Coendou koopmani English: Black dwarf porcupine

Rothschild's porcupine Coendou rothschildi Spanish: Puerco-espín, gato de espinas

Short-tailed porcupine Echinoprocta rufescens English: Stump-tailed porcupine; Spanish: Puerco-espín

Paraguay hairy dwarf porcupine Sphiggurus spinosus French: Porc-épic prehensile; Spanish: Coendú chico

Brown hairy dwarf porcupine Sphiggurus vestitus Spanish: Puerco espín peludo

Orange-spined hairy dwarf porcupine

Sphiggurus villosus Spanish: Ourig-cacheiro

Black-tailed hairy dwarf porcupine

Coendou melanurus Spanish: Ourigo cacheiro, puerco-espin

Frosted hairy dwarf porcupine Coendou pruinosus Spanish: Puerco espin peludo

White-fronted hairy dwarf porcupine

Coendou sneiderni

Thin-spined porcupine Chaetomys subspinosus English: Bristle-spined porcupine; Spanish: Ouriço preto

Large, reaching more than 36 in (90 cm), more than half of it tail. Mostly black, except for whitish spine tips.

This long-tailed, dark-colored porcupine has quills that are particularly long and conspicuous at the rear of the animal. Adults reach about 24-28 in (61-71 cm), about half of which is tail.

Obviously spine-covered porcupine with a prehensile tail that is nearly as long as the body.

Spiny, brown to black porcupine with a white streak on the nose and measuring at most about 20 in (51 cm). The short tail makes up about a third of the total length.

Small, grayish brown, short-tailed porcupine with quills hidden by long hair.

Small, brown porcupine with mostly inconspicuous, brown spines. White spines on the head are visible. Reaches only about 17 in (43 cm) total length, with a tail about a half as long as the body.

A mostly black porcupine with orange-tipped spines and fur. Can reach almost 36 in (91 cm) in length, about two-thirds or more of it tail.

Spines are mostly visible on the hind portion of the body. A fairly large porcupine, reaching up to 29 in (74 in), including a tail that is almost as long as the body.

Reaching at most only 24 in (61 cm), this small porcupine is distinguished by gray to black fur and white bristles that hide the short spines.

Similar in size to C. pruinosus, but with visible spines and a prominent white stripe down the center of the head. Prehensile, but short, tail.

Light brown (sometimes dark brown) animal with a bristly back and short, but prominent spines only at the shoulder and head. Prehensile tail makes up about two-thirds of the total 29 in (73 cm) length.

Found in low- and high-elevation rainforests, this species is nocturnal and arboreal.

Found in the Amazonian lowlands, its behavior is little known.

Found in forested lowlands, its habits are little known.


Nocturnal and arboreal, it lives in evergreen forests.

Lives in both lowland and upper-elevation forests. Behavior is little known.

Live in forests along the coast. Behavior is little known.

Prefer rainforests. Behavior is little known.

Little known, but at least somewhat social, as a group of four individuals were discovered in a single nest.

Little known.

Found In coastal forests and cultivated or disturbed areas. Excellent climbers that that travel slowly, and spend considerable time sleeping even during their nocturnal "active" period. Solitary.

Northwestern South America extending south as far as Bolivia.

Amazon, Madeira, and Tocantins River basins in northern South America.

From Panama south into northwestern South America, possibly as far south as northern Peru.

Andes Mountains, primarily Colombia, at 2,600-6,600 ft (7902,010 m).

Northern and north-central South America.

Northwestern South America, including Colombia.

Northeastern South America, primarily eastern Brazil.

Northern South America.

Western Venezuela.



Unknown, but presumably vegetarian.

Unknown, but presumably vegetarian.

Vegetative matter, including fruits and probably leaves.

Unknown, but presumably vegetarian.

Vegetative matter, as well as ant pupae.

Unknown, but presumably vegetarian.

Unknown, but presumably vegetarian.

Unknown, but presumably vegetarian.

Unknown, but presumably vegetarian.

Unknown, but presumably vegetarian.

Mainly fruit.

Not listed by IUCN

Not listed by IUCN

Not listed by IUCN

Not listed by IUCN

Not listed by IUCN

Not listed by IUCN

Not listed by IUCN

Not listed by IUCN

Not listed by IUCN

Not listed by IUCN

Not listed by IUCN

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