Sumatran porcupine

Hystrix sumatrae

SUBFAMILY

Hystricinae

TAXONOMY

Thecurus sumatrae (Lyon, 1907), Sumatra, Indonesia. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Sumatran thick-spined porcupine, Sumatran short-tailed porcupine, Indonesian porcupine.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Body length is 1.4-3.0 ft (42-93 cm) with mean of 1.8 ft (54 cm), tail length is 1.0-7.5 in (2.5-19 cm) with mean of 4 in (10 cm), and weight is 8.4-11.9 lb (3.8-5.4 kg). Short, rounded head (described as "cat's head"); no head or neck mane; upper side is dark brown to black and partly speckled in light color; underside is brown to gray-white. Body is covered with flattened spines; each grooved longitudinally and increasing in rigidity near tip; spines are interspersed with short hairs. Quills are smaller along tail and more flexible on underside. Specialized "rattling" quills on tail expand near tips, and are hollow so that quills can rattle when vibrated together to warn potential enemies. Coarse, bristle-like hairs cover feet. Nasal bones are small. Subgenus Thecu-rus resembles subgenus Hystrix in having shorter tail and longer quills. Resem bles subgenus Acanthion in that it lacks well-developed crest and its quills have only one black band.

DISTRIBUTION

Sumatra.

HABITAT

Takes refuge in ground caves, rock crevasses, and under fallen trees; generally forests, abandoned and active plantations, and in rugged rocky areas.

BEHAVIOR

Frequently two per den (sometimes one or three). Poor climber.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

An assortment of vegetation (similar to family).

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Gestation period, number of young at birth, weight at birth, weaning period, and sexual maturity are all similar to those of family.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Hunted for meat. Eat farmers' crops, and are thus perceived as pests. ♦

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