It is quite tough to successfully fight off a single lion, let alone an entire herd. But a lone albeit plucky porcupine not only defended itself, but successfully fended off 17 lions.
The YouTube video shot by wildlife guide Lucien Beaumont proves you are never too small or ill-equipped when adversity knocks on your door. The incident occurred on October 31, when on a routine nighttime safari, Lucien came across the rather large pride of big cats – including some youngsters – milling around an object of interest.
Upon closer inspection, Lucien says, “To my surprise, it was a rather unfortunate porcupine surrounded by 13 lion[esses] and four male lions. This is not an ideal place to be, especially if you feature on the menu of a lion!”
Lucien immediately began filming an encounter he describes as the one “I have been hoping, dreaming and imagining for many years.”
The amazing act of bravery begins as soon as the pride of big cats approaches the porcupine, assuming it to be a quick morsel, reported Londolozi. Slowly and steadily, each lioness, and later a couple of lions, take a jab at the poor little creature, but surprisingly, the porcupine doesn’t seem defenseless.
Instead of making a dash for it, the porcupine stands his ground with his quills raised high in a clear threatening manner. National Geographic spoke with Kristina Smith, a keeper at the Oregon Zoo’s Africa Area, who said the species in the video is likely an African crested porcupine.
She explained the behavior of the critter, “When they’re threatened, they’ll shake this little rattle. They have this little section of [hollow] quills at the bottom [that make noise]. And they’ll stomp and grunt. [An African crested porcupine will] use all those defenses: the stomping, the rattling, and the shaking of the quills. It’s just an extra way to alert [their enemies], so they use the rattle kind of like a snake would.”
The zoo keeper revealed that such an encounter is quite common, since cats and porcupines both venture out in the dark. Moreover, though the lions love porcupine meat and will also devour one from time to time, these critter do tend to be a tough prey. Kristina revealed that porcupines generally don’t have many active predators since those quills are quite effective.
[Image Credit | Lucien Beaumont / Londolozi]