Common Porcupine (Hystrix brachyura)

Malayan Porcupine (Captive)

Global population trend: decreasing

At SAFE Project: sometimes seen

Habitats observed in at SAFE Project:

Primary forest

Logged forest

Palm oil plantation

Animal Facts

Also known as the Malayan Porcupine and the Himalayan Crestless Porcupine. It is a large and stout bodied nocturnal rodent covered with quills which are sharp, rigid structures. The quills/spines are modified hair. The quills or spines on their upper body parts are rough with black and white or yellowed stripe in colour. The young’s soft quills become hard as they enter adulthood. It has short stocky legs covered in brown hairs which have four claws on the front and five on the hind legs. Both front and hind legs have smooth soles. The head and body measurement are around 63-72.5 cm and their tail is about 6–11 cm. Their weight is around 0.7 kg-2.4 kg.

Malayan porcupines create burrows which lead into huge networks of tunnels beneath their surrounding habitats, allowing them to get around during the daytime without being exposed to sunlight. It is found in various types of forest habitats as well as open areas near forests. It may stray into nearby agricultural areas. It digs into the ground and inhabits dens near rocky areas, where it lives in small groups. They live with other adults of their species and usually produce litters of two or three pups after a pregnancy of around 110 days.

Where do they live?

Bangladesh; China; India; Indonesia; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; Thailand; Vietnam.


Forest habitats, and in scrubby, open areas close to forest.

What do they eat?

Roots, tubers, bark and fallen fruits. They also eat carrion and insects.

Who eats them?


Threatened by..

Hunted for food but this not thought to impact populations. In South Asia, it is threatened by habitat loss due to construction of dams, human settlements and other infrastructure development. It is harvested for subsistence food and medicinal purposes.

Malayan porcupine
Himalayan Crestless Porcupine H. b. hodgsoni from India
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Hystricidae
Genus: Hystrix
Linnaeus, 1758
Subgenus: Acanthion
Species: H. brachyura
Binomial name
Hystrix brachyura
Linnaeus, 1758

H. b. brachyura
H. b. subcristata
H. b. hodgsoni
H. b. punungensis (extinct)
H. b. yunnanensis Anderson, 1878
H. b. bengalensis Blyth, 1851


  • Slideshow Image:
  • Species image:
  • IUCN conservation status bar:
  • Logged forest image:
  • Palm oil plantation image:
  • Table: (Updated 22/12/2012)

This species on:


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Compiled by Adam Sharp, Rosie Burdon and Nicola Harrison