As a guide I have a bucket list of various sightings that I dream of seeing. The more time I spend in the bush, the more amazing things I have seen over the years, the more outrageous my bucket list seems to become.

A few nights ago, I managed to tick one major sighting off my bucket list that I have been hoping, dreaming and imagining for many years. We were lucky enough to spend the afternoon with the Mhangeni pride and the four coalition males. The lions were restful for most of the afternoon until it darkened into evening and began to cool. The pride soon became active and started to move with the four male lions in tow. Suddenly we saw the group clump together and it looked like they were surrounding something of interest.

My imagination started to race, trying to figure out what they had found… To my surprise it was a rather unfortunate porcupine surrounded by 13 lion and four male lions. This is not an ideal place to be, especially if you feature on the menu of a lion!

IMG_5157

The Mhangeni pride and the four coalition males take an interest in an unfortunate porcupine.

IMG_5176

The porcupine defends itself using its quills to ward off the curious lions

IMG_5180

The porcupine backs into an approaching lion – the quills make a distracting noise

All was not lost however and the porcupine began to shake its tail (known as a rattle) – the sound of the quills makes a distracting noise. The porcupine began to run backwards into any lion that would come too close for comfort, a common defense mechanism for a threatened porcupine. If the porcupine manages to get close enough to a predator, it does not shoot its quills as many people may think. Rather the quills have micro-barbs, which hook into the face or paws of a predator that may get too close. The quills simply pull out of the porcupines skin without causing damage to the prickly creature. The predator then has to deal with a painful quill. The downside of this is that there is a chance of the quill breaking off in the skin and this can cause a major infection. The porcupine simply re-grows any lost quills – the quills are a type of fused hair.

IMG_5202

If the porcupine manages to get close enough to a predator, it does not shoot its quills as many people may think. Rather the quills have micro-barbs, which hook into the face or paws of a predator that may get too close

Watch this footage captured below of the prickly encounter!

IMG_5203

The porcupine manages to escape and live to see another day

This very lucky porcupine managed to survive. The lionesses of the Mhangeni pride lost interest and began to move off. The cubs soon lost their bravery and backed off, leaving the porcupine to disappear into the night and live to see another day.

Written, Filmed and Photographed by: Lucien Beaumont 

Filed under Photography Wildlife

31 Comments

on A Prickly Dance: Lions and Porcupine
    marinda drake says:

    Fantastic sighting. Great video

    Beverley van Schoor says:

    Awesome pics and video – so interesting to watch, thanks for sharing.

    Martin Foster says:

    Thanks for sharing – Somehow the lions knew that tangling with the porcupine could be painful!

    Kate Collins says:

    Wow Lucien! Great blog and video.

    Wendy Hawkins says:

    Wonderful blog & pictures Lucien! I am so glad that the little creature got to see another day. Thanks for sharing with us :)

    Sam Olan says:

    Hi Lucien, what a great picture! Thank you.

    Hari says:

    Thank you for the wonderful effort. Scripting the scene was even more beautiful, enjoyed a lot.

    But none of the porcupine’s friends believes him when he tells this story :)

    Porcupine 1; Lion 0. Awesome victory! Well done, little guy! Though with sharp dangerous quills like that, it would take a very brave lion to really go for it and persist to the bitter end!

Join the coversationLeave a reply below

Your email will be kept private.

Connect with Londolozi

Follow Us

facebook
twitter
google
youtube
pinterest

Sign up for our newsletter