These porcupines are highly adaptable as to habitat. They shelter in caves, rock crevices, aardvark holes, or burrows that they dig themselves. The burrows often have several entrances, are sometimes used for many years, and can become quite extensive. Hystrix is nocturnal and terrestrial. It does not usually climb trees, but is able to swim well. Its movement is described as “easy and graceful.” They tend to follow paths, and may cover up to 9 miles per night in search of food. Piping calls and a pig-like grunt have been reported. There is considerable grunting and quill rattling as they shuffle around at night. When they encounter another animal they raise and fan their quills, more than doubling their apparent size. If still bothered they stamp their feet, whirr their quills, then finally charge backward, attempting to drive the thicker, shorter quills of the rump into the enemy. Lions, leopards, hyenas and even humans are sometimes injured or killed in this manner. Small family groups commonly share a burrow, but the female may establish a separate den in which to bear her young.