Indian Crested Porcupine

During the past week, about 70 observations of Indian Crested Porcupine (Hystrix indica) have been updated, most of them from the central and northern areas. Porcupines are being reported regularly from Jerusalem city, seen feeds on leftovers in the parks. As can be seen in the following images (photos by Moshe Klukowski), some of these Porcupines are unusually pale: Does anyone know about such pale Porcupines in any other place? Please share your data

Indian Crested Porcupine
Pale Indian Crested Porcupine, Hystrix indica, Jerusalem. ©Moshe Klukowski

We would like to take this opportunity for a short review about this exceptional rodent. Indian Crested Porcupine belongs to the HYSTRICIDAE family. As both the EN and the scientific names suggest, it is mainly as Asian species which found throughout the continent (mainly southern parts), west to the Middle East and Turkey.

Indian Crested Porcupine, Hystrix indica: distribution map

This is the largest Rodent in our area, growing more than 90 cm long and weighing in average about 8 kg (but might exceed 15 kg). It is quite common all over the country, although the population density in the deserts is low.

Indian Crested Porcupine, Hystrix indica
Indian Crested Porcupine, Hystrix indica, Jerusalem. © Moshe Klukowski

The Indian Crested Porcupine is very rarely seen in day light, or even at dusk: it is a strictly nocturnal animal. It can dig relatively big burrows (10m-15m length) that serve as shelter for the day, but it is often found in natural dens (crevasse, bush) or even artificial ones (bunkers etc.). Porcupines feed on various fruits and vegetables: plant material, which includes cultivated human crops hence considered as pest. The almost total extinction of its natural predators from our area, leave the farmers no choice but the use of hunting as the main pest control way of action. The over population of porcupines probably cause damages to plants, and other species who depend upon the plants as a food source.

Further reading
Influences of porcupine (Hystrix indica) activity on the slopes on the northern Negev mountains
ADW - Indian crested porcupine
IUCN - Red list

Although sharing the same common name, the new world Tree Porcupines belong to a separate family: ERETHIZONTIDAE

North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum): not a HYSTRICIDAE species