Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupine (Atherurus macrourus)

Range Description:

 This species is distributed in North-eastern South Asia, through much of Central and Southern China and mainland Southeast Asia. In South Asia, this species has been recorded in Assam, India and probably also occurs in Bangladesh. It has been recorded up to 750 m asl (Molur et al. 2005). In China, it has been recorded from Hainan Island, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Hubei, Hunnan and Guangxi (Smith and Xie 2008). In Southeast Asia, it is widely recorded in Myanmar, Thailand (including the island of Tarutau), Lao PDR, Vietnam, Cambodia and Peninsular Malaysia (including the islands of Aor, Pemanggil and Tioman). It is recorded from Sumatra (Indonesia) by Woods and Kilpatrick (2005), but this requires verification.
Countries: Native:
Bangladesh; (Hainan, Hubei, Sichuan, Yunnan); (Assam); Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; Thailand; Vietnam


HB:381-525; T: 139-228; HF: 64-75; E: 30-36.

The upper parts are covered with flattened, brown spines interspersed with fewer slender, round pale coloured spines (Medway 1969). The underparts are whitish. The tail bears small scales for much of its length, with short spiny bristles between them. The long tail ends in a tuft of dirty coloured quills or hairs with each hair looking like a string of beads, but the beads are not globular, but flattened and looks like the hair as been modelled with plasticine, and then pinched from alternate sides along its length (Harrison 1966). the nasal bones are short, usually 30% of the greatest length of the skull. The sagittal crest is prominent , and the palate is narrow and conspicuously pitted with small cavities.


It is a nocturnal and fossorial species occurring in subtropical and tropical montane forests. It is found on the forest floor, often in areas with profuse undergrowth interspersed with cane and bamboo brakes and palms (Molur et al. 2005). It constructs burrows, which may be occupied by up to three animals. Like other porcupines it usually defecates at a certain spot near the burrow (Medway) It is mainly terrestrial but sometimes climbs. fairly well. It is found in various types of forest habitats as well as open areas near forests. It may stray into nearby agricultural areas. It digs into the ground and inhabits dens near rocky areas, where it lives in small groups. It eats roots, fruit some cultivated crops and barks off some kind of trees and also carrion especially bones. It has a gestation period of 110 days and a litter size of two or three. The species may give birth to two litters annually. Their habitat is terrestrial where they are living in the hole of tree barks or roots. It also living in a burrow, from which a network of trails penetrate into surrounding habitat. It can be found in all forest types up to 1500m.

Major Threat(s):

 In its limited South Asian range, it is threatened by habitat loss due to jhum (shifting) agriculture, small-scale logging, subsistence harvesting for food, and accidental mortality (Molur et al. 2005).


The species is protected under Schedule II of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, though not listed in CITES. It has been recorded from Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh, India (Molur et al. 2005). It is present in a number of protected areas in Southeast Asia. It has been recorded from Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh, India (Molur et al. 2005). It is present in a number of protected areas in Southeast Asia.