Sitting at the top of the food chain and almost 500 pounds, the king of the jungle, or the lion, can easily take down any prey it wants for food, especially the small ones. In the savanna, lions are considered to be a deadly predator, but when hunting porcupines, the small rodent usually wins the bout.
David versus Goliath
Weighing only 5 to 12 kilograms and extends 60 to 90 centimeters long, porcupines are herbivores that rely on twigs, leaves and various plants for nutrients. They are small rodents, and the only form of self-defense it can turn to is its quills. Lions, on the other hand, are large predators that feed on other animals for food. When food is scarce, they would even resort to eating porcupines.
Studies show that lions are forced to feed on these small critters due to the decreasing number of their natural prey. But when they attack porcupines, they get hurt on the process because of its quills.
A porcupine’s quill is made up of the same material that makes up our nails and hair. The porcupine’s quill gets stuck on the flesh of the lion or other predators who are not careful enough when attacking them. Most of the victims who become injured, or worse died, are juvenile male lions that are still inexperienced. As they are young, they don’t have an idea that porcupines can pose fatal risks.
The Solution to the Problem
Various predators, such as the lion, resort into eating animals that are normally not included in their diet because of the depreciating number of its prey (caused by excessive hunting or poaching). In recent years, the frequency of lion attacks on porcupines has risen significantly. If this problem is not addressed, it may lead to a greater imbalance in the ecosystem.
One solution that can be put forth is by enhancing security against poachers and hunters in areas with low numbers of natural preys. Continuing the efforts in spreading awareness regarding the preservation of wildlife can also be of great help.