Malayan porcupines are large and stout-bodied rodents. They are covered with sharp quills. These quills are modified hair. Those on their upper body parts are rough with black with white or yellow stripes. The young’s soft quills become hard as they enter adulthood. These porcupines have short, stocky legs covered in brown hairs which have four claws on the front and five on the hind legs. Both front and hind legs have smooth soles.
Malayan porcupines range from Nepal through north-east India (Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, West Bengal, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland), to Bangladesh, central and southern China (Xizang, Hainan, Yunnan, Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou, Hunnan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Hong Kong, Fujian, Jianxi, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Anhui, Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, Gansu), throughout Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam, through Peninsular Malaysia, to Singapore, Sumatra (Indonesia) and throughout Borneo (Indonesia, Malaysia, Sarawak and Brunei). They are also present on the island of Penang, Malaysia. These porcupines live in various types of forest habitats, as well as open areas near forests. They can also be found in agricultural areas.
Malayan porcupines inhabit dens near rocky areas, where they live in small groups. They also live in burrows, which have a network of trails that lead into surrounding habitat. These animals forage at night and rest during the day. They can also swim and gnaw.
Little is known about the mating system and reproductive behavior of Malayan porcupines. Females may give birth to two litters annually which consist of two or three young. The gestation period lasts around 110 days.
In some areas of their range, Malayan porcupines are hunted for their meat. The quills of these animals are used for ornamental purposes. In South Asia, Malayan porcupines suffer from habitat loss due to construction of dams, human settlements and other infrastructure development.
The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Malayan porcupine total population size. This animal is widespread throughout its known range. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.