African brush-tailed porcupine – a new species of mammal

Our collection of small species of mammals was extended by yet another interesting species. It is the African brush-tailed porcupine (Atherurus africanus). As it has quills only in the back part of the body, they looks rather like a rat than a crested porcupine. This porcupine is interesting also due to a long lamellar tail, ended by white hair. If in danger, they can produce a crinkly sound reminding of a rattlesnake ´s tail. On contrary to the crested porcupines, the brush-tailed porcupines live in rather forest regions, especially tropical, wet forests and rainforests and can be quite commonly found even in mountain regions, in the altitudes over 2000 m. They are active especially in the early morning and at night; they are also great tree-climbers. Their food consists of leaves, flowers, fruit, roots and occasionally, also agricultural products, especially corn. The meat of the African brush-tailed porcupine is considered to be a delicious food in Africa that is why the locals like hunting them. It is not endangered species. However, it is rare species in the European zoological gardens, currently only in 20 zoos in Europe. Two males were brought to us from the Czech Zoo in Jihlava; they are in the outdoor premises, together with Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys in the pavilion of monkeys.