- Every Tuesday, Mongabay brings you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, our show featuring animals caught on camera traps around the world and hosted by Romi Castagnino, our writer and conservation scientist.
Camera traps bring you closer to the secretive natural world and are an important conservation tool to study wildlife. This week we’re meeting the Mexican hairy dwarf porcupine.
The Mexican tree porcupine, sometimes called the hairy dwarf porcupine is endemic to Mesoamerica, found from Panama to central Mexico, including Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize. It inhabits mixed-mountain forest and coniferous forests up to 3200m high. The Mexican hairy dwarf porcupine has a prehensile and naked tail, which is an adaptation to have a better grip of branches and ultimately better mobility in trees. These porcupines move slowly and forage in the forest canopy. They mainly eat seeds, fruits, leaves, flowers, and buds. The dwarf porcupines’ main weapon of defense against predation is their yellow sharp quills which get stuck in another animal’s skin and are difficult to remove because they have barbs that serve as hooks. Porcupines will grow new quills to replace the ones they lose. Watch the video to learn more about this species!
Special thanks to Osa Conservation for sharing their footage with us. The videos were obtained during an arboreal camera trap study looking at habitat connectivity and arboreal wildlife use in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. You can follow their work on social media @osaconservation.
Review questions for educators
These questions can help provide a framework for exploring the topics presented in this story.
- Why do porcupines have quills?
- Where can you find the Mexican hairy dwarf porcupine?
- Why don’t researchers know much about the Mexican hairy dwarf’s parental behavior?