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.