Indian Crested Procupines (Hystrix indica)   דַרבָּן

Jeff Finger
March 14, 2004

Tonight I went to the Jerusalem Bird Observatory (JBO) above Gan Sacher near the Knesset. I had heard that there is a porcupine family that comes out after dark, and so I put out some tomatoes and cucumbers near the pool, sat in the blind and waited. About the time that it started getting creepy, all of a sudden there were three ghostly figures out investigating the night.

It being after dark, I used a flash (probably a bad thing to do in terms of disturbing the procupines), and, indeed, after the first shot they put up their quills and moved away very quickly. Their quills made a swishing noise in the grass, and I was surprised by how quickly they moved. Fortunately, the flash did not keep the porcupines away for too long, and I got in another couple of shots before deciding to stop bothering them.

The picture on the left shows the porcupine with its quills down, and the one on the right shows the quills when the animal is agitated. If you click on the pictures above, you'll see a higher resolution version.

There is a interesting web site about Crested Porcupines, and it has a good daylight picture. As the page shows, these guys are pretty big:

Head and Body Length:24 to 35 inches (60 to 90 cm)
Tail Length:3 to 7 inches (8 to 7 cm)
Weight:22 to 66 pounds (10 to 30 kg)

The pictures I took were almost solid black. I adjusted the brightness and contrast as well as I could in Photoshop so that the porcupines became visible.