28 April 2012


Ystervark (Source)
Ystervark, yes I know you have no idea how to pronounce that but it's ok. The Ys as in the word ace  and the V pronounced the same as you would an F as in face.
So what you get is: Ace-ter-fark. Close enough. :)
It's really a porcupine but some of us English speaking Africans jokingly translate it as Iron Pig.
Ystervark 1, Pit bull 0 (source)
Yster meaning Iron and vark being pig. A pretty apt description considering how adept this creature is at defending itself. No, they don't shoot their quills out, they charge backwards into whatever is attacking them. This has a devastating effect on the face of the attacker.

Some dogs just don't learn though. There were over a thousand quills in the face of this rather persistent but stupid dog.
These creatures are the largest rodents in Africa and are generally peaceful but like to be left alone. Vegetarian and nocturnal they aren't much of a threat to farmers but will dig up fields of root crops, which can cause a bit of a problem. We've got some of them on the farm where I live but I've never seen them, just their quills and places where they have fed. I do know where their burrow is though, rather a large hole in the side of the hill.
Their quill covered bodies may leave on under the impression they are related to the hedgehog, this is untrue. They are much bigger, up to 60 pounds in Africa, and their quills are a lot longer. They're also not quite as cute in my opinion. They can be kept as pets, handle with care.
baby ystervark (source)
Mommy will bear between two and four babies in a burrow. At birth, they only weigh about 300 grams, but within five months they will weigh about five kilograms, reaching full size one year after birth. They can live up to twenty years, which is long for a rodent.
Females can only become sexually active again after about five months from weening the earlier litter. And just to set the ladies minds at rest, they are born with soft spines which quickly harden in the air. :)
The big cats, hyenas and birds of prey sometimes attack these animals but they do so at the risk of losing their lives.
Super Brave mom (source)
Well, since I've already written my "Z" post and scheduled it to publish on Monday, this then is my last post I need to write for the A to Z April Challenge. Kinda sad in a strange sort of way.
They haven't been super informative scientific publications, but they have been fun researching.
I hope you have enjoyed my little African expose` so far, I have and am looking forward to hearing what everyone else has been up to once we are over the hectics.
Bless you all and thanks for the visit, Geoff.


  1. Magic, being able to communicate with someone so far away from Africa. Africa, love the literature. I found this author through another blog, Herman Charles Bosman, the short story is "Leopards." I held my breath until the end. I hope to read your blog after the challenge as well. castlepinesnorth.blogspot.com

  2. That is one freaky animal! I pitty the pit bull. The photo of the baby hedgehog is adorable. We had plenty of them back home, tamed but living in the back yard.

  3. Ok, the baby Yestervark is ADORABLE! The big ones... not so much. And, I've never seen anything quite so painful looking as that poor dog's face!

    Congratulations on completing the A-Z Challenge. It's a fun idea and I think I might give it another try if I'm still blogging next year.

  4. Well, you have taught me more than a few things today. That mother Yestervark is enormous. I don't think I would want to cross her!

    Congratulations on completing your posts for the Challenge. One more for me. It has certainly been an interesting ride.


  5. Geoff,
    I have grossly neglected my A to Z visiting duties this year! I am revising my book and I haven't visited many at all.

    I LOVE this post! The dog photo is awful! Poor, poor, dumb dog. That's all I can say about him.

    Very interesting facts. Iron Pig is a good name. Thank you for sharing all the info.

  6. Wow! That is an amazing and scary creature! I think I like the little hedgehog better :)

  7. Cool! Love the name. :) So similar to the porcupine. My dog came home with a few quills in his nose but not like the picture of this pore fellow. :( Ouch!

    I have enjoyed learning about your country maybe one day I will visit, if I do so I will look you up.

    Blessings brother,

  8. Wow! I hope I never meet an Ystervark Mr Geoff. I'd run away quick if I did though. Thank you for your posts and your nice comments at my blog.
    I'm looking forward to Zebra OOOPs
    Victor xx

  9. There are porcupines in the U.S., too, and I have seen many dogs who have gotten a face full of quills. Owners would bring them in to the veterinary doctor's office where I worked. Poor dogs.

    Enjoyed meeting you on the Challenge. It is kind of sad in a way that it is ending, but I do have a lot of work I need to get back to.

  10. I enjoyed very much your version of porcupine and the look into your Africa. Interested to see what you get into next. - Barbara
    Life & Faith in Caneyhead

  11. Wow! And aaawwwwwww--that baby Ystervark is SO CUTE!

  12. As a child I remember our dog tangled with porcupines all the time! My most clear memory of him is his face full of quills and my Mom trying to get him into the car for the drive into town to the vet. We laugh about those stories now, but at the time it was not fun!

  13. aww the baby is cute. and yeah I have to say the mom would let her baby near it is pretty damn brave.

    Sonia Lal @ Story Treasury

  14. Hi Geoff! Thank you for your recent visit to my blog. I found your post quite interesting. That poor pit bull. That looks rather painful.


  15. Super interesting post! I couldn't believe that pit bull's face, though. Ouch! And the little child so near the "Iron Pig"..doesn't seem like a good idea!
    Thanks for visiting my blog. I'll be following you in my google reader!

  16. What an interesting post! That baby porcupine is adorable....but the adult is rather scary, especially looking at the poor puppy!!!

  17. That's a little hedgehog(krimpvark), not porcupine.

  18. Actually Frederick it really is an Ystervark. If you click on the captions under the images it will take you to the source. Thanks for commenting, I hope you enjoyed what you read. Feel free to read further and comments that are not offensive I'm willing to publish. God bless to everyone who comes to my blog for nourishment, Geoff.