Species and habitat description

The crested porcupine is unmistakable. It is a large rodent, wheighting till 27 Kg. Almost the entire body is covered with black and white bristles. The quills that run along the head, nape and back can be raised into a crest, hence the name crested porcupine. These sturdier quills are used for defense. The short tail has quills that, when are vibrated, produce a hiss-like rattle. It lives in dry Mediterranean shrubland, maquis, abandoned farmland, steppe, forest and dry rocky areas. It is nocturnal and eats roots and tubers (including cultivated crops), bark and fallen fruit. In Europe it lives only in Italy.

Major threats

It is a least concern species (IUCN, 2016). Despite being strictly protected under international and domestic legislation in Europe, the porcupine is still illegally hunted for meat. In parts of the range it is considered a pest species and it is sometimes illegally controlled with poison baits or traps because of the damage it may do to crops. However, at present these are not thought to be major threats to the survival of the species in Europe.

Specific conservation action

In the site IT4070011 Vena del Gesso Romagnola it is present in every area and it is very common. In the area we will maintain and improve forest structure and composition and we will plant hedges around the forests, increasing biodiversity and, therefore, the abundance of food. Cutting the artificial afforestation of exotic pines, we will increase the suitable habitats.

Habitat: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/1t9x50TiYAhlkeIXNSOzivwPKtsJqBFru
Specific conservation action: (e.g. creation of sunny glade): https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/1R4ZZY7IuXLh-zuOw8XIrQHf1lzL6zqqe

Related project areas
Monte Mauro

IUCN (2017) BirdLife International. 2017. Sylvia undata (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22716984A117822768

© Riolo Terme, 2018.06.26 Massimiliano Costa