Journal of East African Natural History

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Lion-porcupine interactions in Africa, including impacts on lion predatory behavior

Julian C. Kerbis Peterhans, Gastone G. Celesia, Thomas P. Gnoske


Although African crested porcupines Hystrix spp. represent 0.5–34% of lion Panthera leo kills, interactions between the two species are poorly documented. Here we review porcupine-lion interactions and their impact on lion behaviour, including: 1) lion predation on porcupines; 2) lions injured or killed by porcupine quills; and 3) a case of a lion severely injured by a porcupine  quill. Porcupine quills can be effective weapons and sometimes seriously wound lions, resulting in death. Death from quills can be a slow process and under these circumstances, death may be the result of starvation or infection (septicaemia).

Keywords: predator-prey relations, quill, behaviour modification, Hayward-Kerley’ threat index, septicaemia

AJOL African Journals Online