14 January 2024

Indian Porcupine in the Southwest Mountains – Record by Phil Roberts

Whilst in the southwest mountains of Saudi Arabia in winter this year Phil Roberts set up his camera trap and left it out for a few days in the same location. Whilst doing this he managed to get some photos of Indian porcupine Hystrix indica. The species is found throughout southeast and central Asia and in parts of the Middle East, including India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Indian porcupine is highly adaptable to multiple environments, although they usually favor rocky hill sides reaching up to elevations of 2400 metres. On average, the Indian porcupine's head and body measure 70-90 centimeters (cm) in length, with the tail adding an additional 8-10 cm (Prater 1965). Its hair is highly modified to form multiple layers of spines. Beneath the longer, thinner spines lies a layer of shorter and thicker ones. Each quill is brown or black in color, with alternating bands of white. Spines vary in length, with the neck and shoulder quills being the longest, measuring 15 to 30 cm (Gurung and Singh 1996). The tail is covered with with shorter spines that appear white in color. Among these, are longer, hollow, rattling quills that are used to alarm potential predators. The feet and hands are broad, with long claws that are used for burrowing.