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Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupine
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


 

Order : RODENTIA
Family : Hystricidae
Species : Atherurus macrourus

Head-Body Length : Up to 52 cm
Tail Length : Up to 23 cm

The Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupine inhabits primary and closed secondary forest, in the lowlands and hills. It tends to avoid deforested areas.

The species is terrestrial and nocturnal in habits. By day it rests in in communal groups in burrows, and at night it feeds upon a range of vegetation including plant roots, tubers, tree bark and fallen fruits. It is also documented as eating carrion, particularly bones.

Its quills are somewhat flattened in shape, and  are various shades of brown. Longer quills are typically thinner than shorter quills, which are relatively broad. The softer fur on the belly is pale.

The tail is pale and is covered with small scales, and at the end is a brush-like arrangement of hairs and uniquely shaped quills which are rather like flattened string of beads.

This species is considerably smaller than the better known Malayan Porcupine - the head-body length of the largest specimens reaches 52 cm, compared with 72 cm for the latter species.

This porcupine ranges from parts of eastern India and southern China, through Burma, Thailand and Indochina (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam) to Peninsular Malaysia (including the islands of Penang, Tioman, Aur and Pemanggil). Its presence on the island of Sumatra is unclear, and there are no records from Singapore.


Figs 1 and 2 : Specimen from lowland secondary forest at Sungai Bantang, near Endau-Rompin National Park, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia.


References : M3, M5