The Thorny Pig

The name ‘porcupine’ comes from French ‘porc d’C)pine’ meaning ‘thorny pig’. Something to do with their rounded bodies covered in quills. There are, in total, 27 species of porcupine in the world, of which we at JAWAI regularly encounter one – the Indian Crested Porcupine.

A walk in the hills of JAWAI Leopard Camp often reveals quills, scrapes, dung and other signs of ‘thorny pig’ activity. The field team are always on the look out for the burrows and hideouts of this strictly nocturnal herbivore. Like detectives at a crime scene you can often find the naturalists scouring over the granite investigating nooks and crannies. The other day our resident geologist Colin Souness went off to investigate unusual dykes on a hillside not far from camp. He was astounded by the sheer number of them. Stashed in his backpack was a camera trap – just incase he stumbled across something.

And so he didb&

Colin managed to find a slight overhang with lots of evidence of porcupine tracks and dung. The area had a unique smell and he was sure that it was fresh. He cleverly positioned the camera trap against the rock face and turned it on.

We waitedb&

After three nights we retrieved the camera, came back to camp and inserted the memory card into the computer. The results were wonderful.

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Well done to Colin on his placement of this camera.

Did you know?

Young porcupines are called ‘porcupettes’. Porcupettes have no spines or quills at birth but are covered with sensitive, soft bristles. Their eyes open shortly after birth and they are able to leave the nest after one week.

The porcupines stomach is the only area not protected by quills.

Written by Adam Bannister

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