13 September 2010

A Hole Lot Of Porcupine

I was running out of time and needed a new location for one of my cameras when I walked past the pipe. I've walked past it many times before and just half-heartedly thought that it might be used by animals. But, since I needed to get to the gate before closing time, I decided to take my chances and set the camera up pointing at the entrance. I wasn't expecting much and certainly no porcupines. The hole seemed far to small to accommodate their huge bristling quills. But I was wrong...

Video: The first night, one of the two Porcupines (Ystervarke - Hystrix africaeaustralis) exits the tunnel...

Video: ...but heads back after taking a quick sniff, they only came out (cautiously) an hour and a half later

The porcupines were clearly much more nervous the first night they exited the tunnel and spent a lot of time sniffing the area I was standing on. They were clearly more relaxed the next couple of nights, after making up their mind that their porch is still safe.

Video: Chilling on the porch, much more relaxed

As it turns out this hole is used only by porcupines, as far as I can tell. My camera only spied on them for five nights, and they used the tunnel every night. I'm sure no other critter will want to use the tunnel when it might hit a sudden dead end filled with a mass of angry spikes...

I think the dude with the spikier hairdo might be the male, since he seems to be more protective and full of manly-charisma.

Video: Checking out the camera

It is amazing how they can flatten their quills and fit perfectly into the tunnel. Where does it lead? I have no idea and, even if I could fit through the opening, I definitely won't be willing to find out.

I decided to move the camera from this location since I needed it to spy on the dassies. I got about 70 video clips of 30 seconds each showing not much more than two porcupines taking live easy, five nights in a row... A truly enviable existence :)

Video: Showing off some fancy footwork

I must admit that these two seemed like a very sweet porcupine couple. Their relationship must be built on fairly strong stuff to trust one another enough to walk right behind each other through the total darkness of the tunnel. I would have loved to record some audio as well, they might have some kind of signal/call they use when stopping...


  1. Good find. This evening I put a cam in a drainage pipe my dog was quite interested in. Not expecting a porky though.

  2. Looking forward to seeing what you find.
    It must be fun having Fred around. Wish I could take my dogs with me to Tygerberg, but they don't allow dogs :(