A blog detailing the culture, history, geography and nature of the Republic of Karakalpakstan and neighbouring areas on the lower reaches of the Amu Darya River.
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Animals of Uzbekistan - Indian Porcupine
The Indian crested porcupine (Hystrix indica), or Indian porcupine, is a large species of hystricomorphic rodent (order Rodentia) belonging to the Old World porcupine family, Hystricidae. It is found throughout Central and South Asia and in parts of the Middle East.
t is highly adaptable to multiple environments. Although they usually favor rocky hill sides, the species can also be found in tropical and temperate scrublands, grasslands, and forests. On average the porcupine's head and body measure 70-90 centimetres (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 colour, 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 shorter spines that appear white in colour. Among these, are longer, hollow, rattling quills that are used to alarm potential predators (Ellerman 1961). The feet and hands are broad, with long claws that are used for burrowing. Hystrix indica has a coat of long spikes to protect itself from danger. Porcupines tend to be brown and grey in colour. The sharp, needle-like quills of the porcupine are about 7 cm long and can be detached very easily. The attacker of a porcupine can easily end up with sharp quills in their skin which are venomous and very difficult (not to mention painful) to extract. Porcupines are very vocal during mating season and the gestation period is about 7 months, when only one porcupine pup is born. Newborn porcupine pups weigh around 450 g and are about 25 cm (10 inches) long. The young porcupines are not born with functional quills as they are soft and take time to harden. The porcupine pup will stay with its mother for about 6 months.