Porcupines are dangerous to humans

Also dangerous for humans: lions hunt porcupines out of necessity

Published

Their spikes are designed to scare off enemies. Nevertheless, young lions in particular hunt porcupines. That doesn't bode well.

For lions, porcupines can be attractive prey, despite their quills. However, the predators are often injured in the process. Scientists have now found that it is mostly young male lions that hunt porcupines.

This is a kind of syndrome of young, foolish males, said Julian Kerbis Peterhans of the Field Museum in Chicago. In addition, lions seem to hunt porcupines more often in a dry environment than in regions with more alternatives, the museum reports. The researchers present their work in the "Journal of East African Natural History".

Too little food supply

They drew conclusions from their results with possibly far-reaching consequences: Lions would actually prefer animals such as antelopes, zebras and buffalo. But if they hunted porcupines, it is a sign that there is a problem with the food supply in the area. This could also pose a threat to people and their livestock.

According to the museum, the scientists investigated the relationship between lions and porcupines on the basis of old scientific literature, newspaper articles and even YouTube videos. They found evidence of around 50 incidents in which lions were killed or injured by porcupines. (fee / sda)

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