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PAS_Porcupines

Porcupines

Family: HYSTRICIDAE


PicturePorcupines are larger and more heavily built than squirrels or rats, with characteristic hard spines or quills over most of the upperparts. The incisors and molars are large and powerful. All three species found in Borneo are normally terrestrial and usually nocturnal, sleeping during the daytime in underground holes or burrows.

Long-Tailed Porcupine (Trichys fasciculata)

Measurements: HB 375-437, T 152-240, HF 61-67 (4 specimens). Wt 1.5-2 kg.

Identification: Upperparts brown; underparts whitish. Spines short and flattened, dark brown towards the end, whitish towards the base. Tail brown and scaly, with a brush of hollow bristles at the end. Gives the overall impression of a large rat. Part or all of tail sometimes missing.

Ecology and Habitat: In Sabah, observed feeding on seeds of the belian or ironwood tree, Eusideroxylon zwageri, at Sepilok, and on bamboo shoots on steep terrain in the Crocher Range. Occurs in forests and cultivated areas.

Distribution: Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra. Borneo: T.f. lipura. Known from many localities throughout the lowlands and hills, up to 900 m on G. Kinabalu.

Common Porcupine (Hystrix brachyura)Picture

Measurements: HB 590-630, T 95-130, HF 80--95 (4 Sumatran specimens).

Identification: Generally black; long spines or quills white with a black band towards the tip; short spines on front parts of body mostly blackish, some with a paler base and tip. Both males and females have hollow quills on the tail, which are shaken to make a noise.

Similar species: the Thick-spined Porcupine, Thercurus crassispinis, appears generally dark brown from a distance with the white quill tips not prominent.

Ecology and Habitat: Feeds on fallen fruits including oil palm, roots and stems. Occurs in forests and cultivated areas.

Distribution: Borneo: H.b.longicauda. Known from many localities throughout the lowlands and hills. Up to 900 m on G. Kinabalu.


Thick-Spined Porcupine (Thercurus crassispinis)

PictureMeasurements: HB 550-665, T 90-135, HF 80-90 (4 specimens).

Identification: Generally dark brown; long spines or quills dark brown with white tip and base; short spines on front part of body grey-brown with a pale tip and base. Both males and females have hollow quills on the tail, which are shaken to make a noise.

Similar species: the Common Porcupine, Hytrix brachyura, appears blackish with the white parts of the quills prominent from a distance.

Ecology and Habitat. Feeds on fallen fruits and other vegetable material. Occurs in forests and cultivated areas.

Distribution: Confined to Borneo. Recorded from many localities in the lowlands and hills to the north of S. Rajang on the west coast and Samarinda in the east. Up to 1200 m in the Kelabit uplands.

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