oa African Zoology - Osteophagia in the Cape porcupine Hystrix africaeaustralis

Volume 21, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



Two groups of porcupines (Hystrix africaeaustralis) were maintained for a period of 23 weeks on a diet containing high levels of Ca2+ and P04 Parallel to this another two groups were maintained on a diet containing low levels of these minerals. All groups were provided with defatted bovine bones during weeks 18 to 23 of the experiment. Plasma Ca2+ and P04 levels were determined at intervals throughout the experiment. The amount of osteophagia that occurred was determined by weighing the bones at twoweekly intervals. No significant differences in the plasma Ca2+ and P04 levels of the porcupines on the high diet and those on the low diet were detected. Osteophagia by porcupines on the low diet was twice that of porcupines on the high diet.

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