A single quill from a S. African Porcupine.
These specimens are collected in nature after being shed by the animal. For this reason, they may still have some "nature" on them and should not be put in anyone's mouth. These are also very pointy! Please handle carefully!
Porcupines have a coat of quills made of coarse hairs covered in a thick coat of keratin, the same material your fingernails are made of. These quills are used as a last line of defense against predators. This sample is a quill from a South African (Cape) Porcupine.
It was long believed that porcupines could shoot their quills to attack, but this is not the case. Quills are dislodged upon contact. Quills are black and white to make porcupines harder to spot by their colorblind predators.