17 Animals With Spikes and Their Pictures

Animals With Spikes
Photo by Derek Otway on Unsplash

Animals with spikes have a specific defense system distinguishing them from the rest of the animal kingdom.

These jagged outgrowths, ranging from quills and spines to thorns and spikes, serve as formidable armor, protecting the creatures from prospective attacks. 

Spikes are found in a wide range of animal taxa, from small mammals like hedgehogs and porcupines to marine animals like sea urchins and lionfish.

These remarkable adaptations allow these critters to thrive in their various environments, whether they use their spikes for self-defense or to catch prey.

In this post, we will look at the interesting world of animals with spikes and the amazing ways they use this unique characteristic to navigate their life in the wild.

So Let’s go!

1. Lionfish

by shankar s. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Lionfish, which can be found in the Indo-Pacific region, are among the animals with spikes. They are intriguing creatures with deadly spines and remarkable appearances.

These fish, also known as “firefish,” “tasty fish,” “turkey fish,” or “butterfly cod,” have lengthy fins studded with sharp and deadly spines.

These spikes act as an effective defense mechanism, deterring prospective predators and assisting in prey capture.

Lionfish are expert hunters, employing their venomous spines to paralyze tiny fish and insects. 

They can disorient their prey by blowing water at them, enabling quick capture with their tongue.

Lionfish, skilled predators, and physically appealing creatures demonstrate the interesting combination of beauty and danger in spiked animals.

2. Armadillo-Girdled Lizard

Armadillo-Girdled Lizard
by belgianchocolate is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Armadillo-Girdled Lizard, found in South Africa, is a fascinating reptile known for its unique armor-like appearance.

These animals with spikes derive their name from the ring of horny scales encircling their body, resembling the protective armor of an armadillo.

These scales serve as a defense mechanism against predators, providing a formidable layer of protection. 

Ranging in color from light brown to dark brown, these sharp scales act as spikes, deterring potential threats and enhancing the lizard’s survival in its environment.

With a snout-vent length of up to 3.5 inches, the Armadillo-Girdled Lizard showcases the intriguing adaptation of spikes in the animal kingdom, enabling it to thrive in the face of danger.

3. Crown-of-thorns Starfish

Crown-of-thorns Starfish
by Paul and Jill is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The thorny crown One of the fascinating animals with spikes found in the world’s waters is the starfish, recognized for its imposing size and spiky look.

This fully-spiked starfish gets its name from the spike-like structures covering its upper surface, which can grow up to 21 inches in diameter and have roughly 21 limbs. 

These spines are a formidable defense mechanism, shielding the starfish from predators. The venomous quality of the Crown-of-thorns Starfish’s spines distinguishes it.

These spines carry venom that can inflict severe pain on predators and humans. 

This adaptation is a deterrent, protecting the starfish and allowing it to thrive in its maritime environment.

The Crown-of-thorns Starfish is an intriguing illustration of the broad spectrum of species.

4. Porcupinefish

by octal is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Porcupinefish, also known as blowfish, globefish, or balloonfish, are intriguing species from the Diodontidae family with spikes.

These fish have a distinct defense system in the shape of spiky spines covering their bodies.

When threatened, the porcupinefish can inflate its body by swallowing water or air, seeming considerably larger and scaring potential predators. 

The spiky spines give an extra layer of defense from would-be attackers in addition to their bloated look.

The ability of the porcupine fish to inflate out and its powerful spines make it a formidable presence in the ocean, ensuring its survival in the different marine ecosystems it inhabits.

5. Sea Urchins

Sea Urchins
by quinet is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sea urchins are fascinating marine creatures with a unique adaptation for protection in the form of sharp spines covering their spherical bodies.

These spines serve as a formidable defense mechanism, helping to ward off potential predators and keep them safe in the ocean.

Found in all the world’s oceans, sea urchins use their spines to deter and protect themselves from threats.

Growing up to four inches in length, these spines act as a physical barrier, deterring predators from approaching and potentially harming the sea urchin.

Additionally, sea urchins have a specialized feeding apparatus known as “Aristotle’s lantern,” consisting of five sharp teeth used to shred and consume food.

With their spiky exterior and efficient feeding mechanisms, sea urchins exemplify the incredible diversity of animals with spikes for defense and survival in their marine habitats.

6. Thorny Dragon

The thorny dragon, also known as the ‘Thorny Devil,’ ‘Thorny Lizard,’ or ‘Mountain Devil,’ is next on our list of spiked animals. It is a fascinating creature found in the dry parts of Australia. 

This animal is adorned with a coat of sharp, conical spines that serve as an effective defense mechanism against predators.

The thorny dragon possesses the remarkable ability to change the color of its body, allowing it to blend seamlessly with its surroundings and avoid detection by predators. 

Primarily feeding on ants, the thorny dragon utilizes its spikes to protect and capture its prey.

With its unique appearance and adaptive features, the thorny dragon exemplifies the diverse array of animals equipped with spikes, showcasing their evolutionary adaptations for survival in challenging environments.

7. Echidna

by patrickkavanagh is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The echidna, also known as the ‘spiny anteater,’ is a unique creature in Australia and New Guinea. Despite its name, the echidna is not closely related to the anteaters of the Americas.

This intriguing mammal has a distinctive platypus-like body, a long snout, and a tongue used to feed ants and termites. 

One of the prominent features of the echidna is its coat of sharp spines, which effectively protects against predators.

These spines, made of keratin-like human hair and fingernails, act as a formidable defense mechanism.

Along with its short limbs and sharp claws that aid digging, the spines enable the echidna to navigate its environment safely.

With its specialized adaptations and remarkable spikes, the echidna is a fascinating example of animals with spikes for self-defense and survival in their habitat.

8. Old World Porcupines

Old-world porcupines, belonging to the family Hystricidae, are fascinating animals found in Southeast Asia, Africa, India, and some parts of Southern Europe.

These spiked animals possess longer and thicker quills than other porcupine species. Their quills are dark-colored with light tips, providing an effective defense mechanism. 

These formidable spikes are used for self-defense against predators. When threatened, the porcupine will raise its quills, making itself appear larger and more intimidating.

As herbivores, they mainly feed on fruits, bark, roots, and farmed crops. The presence of their sharp and robust quills ensures the safety and protection of these unique animals in their natural habitats.

9. Hedgehog

by Charlie From Bristol is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Hedgehogs, belonging to the Erinaceinae family, are small spikey mammals found in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

They possess a unique defense mechanism with their spikes made out of keratin, the same component found in human fingernails and hair. 

These spikes, also known as quills, serve as a protective shield against predators.

When threatened, hedgehogs curl into a tight ball, presenting a formidable barrier with their face and belly well-protected by the sharp spikes. 

This adaptation helps hedgehogs to fend off potential threats and ensures their safety in various habitats.

With their adorable appearance and prickly defense, hedgehogs truly exemplify the incredible diversity of animals with spikes.

10. Armadillo Spiny Tailed Lizard

The Armadillo Spiny Tailed Lizard, scientifically known as Ouroborus cataphractus, is one of the reptile animals with spikes found in Africa.

These small lizards possess a row of spines along their tails, which they utilize for self-defense against predators.

Native to the grasslands of Africa, they have developed hard scales that enable them to survive in extreme climates.

With their spiky exterior and sturdy build, Armadillo Spiny Tailed Lizards are well-equipped to navigate their environment and evade potential threats.

Their unique adaptation of spines is an effective deterrent, showcasing the remarkable diversity of animals with spikes in the natural world.

11. Armored Rat

Armored Rat
by istolethetv is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Armored Rat, scientifically known as Hoplomys gymnurus, is a small mammal found in the tropical forests of Central and South America.

With its short and spiky fur coat, this rat is well-equipped to defend itself against predators. Its strong build and agility allow it to move quickly through the trees, avoiding potential danger. 

Despite its spikes, the Armored Rat is also an adept climber. The spikes serve as a form of protection, deterring predators from attacking.

This fascinating rodent showcases the diverse strategies that animals employ to ensure their survival, highlighting the remarkable adaptations found among animals with spikes.

12. Long-Spine Porcupinefish

Long-Spine Porcupinefish
by _temaki_ is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Long-Spine Porcupinefish, scientifically known as Diodon holocanthus, is a fascinating species of fish found in tropical and subtropical seas worldwide.

This fish derives its name from the large, sharp spikes that cover its body, resembling the quills of a porcupine.

These spikes are composed of hard, bony material and serve as formidable protection against predators. 

The Long-Spine Porcupinefish is an agile swimmer often found in shallow, coral-filled waters.

It employs its long spikes as a visual deterrent, intimidating potential predators and signaling its ability to defend itself if threatened. 

Despite its protective features, this species remains a popular food source for larger marine animals.

The Long-Spine Porcupinefish exemplifies animals’ diverse strategies to safeguard themselves in their habitats, highlighting nature’s creations’ remarkable adaptability.

13. Indian Crested Porcupine

The Indian Crested Porcupine, scientifically known as Hystrix indica, is a mammal species found in rocky hills, deserts, and forests from Turkey to India.

These nocturnal animals spend their days resting in burrows and foraging for food at night, consuming roots, tubers, other plant material, insects, and small reptiles. 

The Indian Crested Porcupine possesses a remarkable defense mechanism with its long, sharp quills covering its back and sides.

It vigorously shakes its quills when threatened, producing a rattling noise to warn potential predators to stay away. 

If the warning is ignored, the porcupine can back into its attacker, driving the quills into the flesh.

This unique adaptation serves as a potent deterrent against would-be predators, emphasizing the effectiveness of spikes as a form of protection in the animal kingdom.

14. Malayan Porcupine

Malayan Porcupine
by quinet is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Malayan Porcupine, scientifically known as Hystrix brachyura, is a remarkable mammal found in the forests of Southeast Asia.

This large rodent showcases an impressive defense mechanism with its long, sharp quills that cover its back, sides, and tail.

These quills serve as an effective form of protection, deterring potential predators from attacking. 

The Malayan Porcupine is nocturnal and spends time foraging for leaves, seeds, and fruits, displaying its herbivorous nature.

With exceptional climbing skills, this porcupine can navigate trees and descend headfirst.

Its formidable appearance and spiky defenses make it an intriguing example among the diverse animals with spikes for survival in their habitats.

15. South African Porcupine

South African Porcupine
by Chris G Earley is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The South African Porcupine, scientifically known as Hystrix africaeaustralis, is a well-known member of the spiked animal family.

This porcupine is known for its robust defense mechanism and may be found in numerous sections of South Africa as well as other regions of southern and central Africa. 

These spines, which have big, sharp quills that can grow up to a foot long, serve as an excellent deterrent against predators such as lions and leopards.

South African porcupines, unlike hedgehogs, do not roll into a protective ball when threatened, instead facing their assailants and using their quills as protection. 

It’s hard to believe that they exist outside of South Africa, but they may be found throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. South Africans have spiky armor.

16. Spiny Oakworm Moth

Spiny Oakworm Moth
by Judy Gallagher is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Spiny Oakworm Moth, known as Anisota stigma, is a tiny insect in North American woodlands.

While not as well-known as other spiked animals, this moth has a distinct protection system. 

Its body is covered in tiny, sharp spikes that serve as both a deterrent to predators and a means of blending in with its surroundings.

The spines are a deterrent, making predators reluctant to approach or swallow the moth.

The Spiny Oakworm Moth’s extraordinary adaptation of spiky armor demonstrates nature’s creativity in devising various tactics for survival in distinct settings.

17. Spiny Orb-Weaver

Spiny Orb-Weaver
by BSC Photography is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Spiny Orb-Weaver, Gasteracantha, is ending our list of animals with spikes. It is a small arachnid found in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide.

This unique creature stands out with its distinctive spikes and intricate web. 

The spikes on its body serve as a formidable defense mechanism, deterring potential predators from approaching.

The Spiny Orb-Weaver is nocturnal, hiding during the day and emerging at night to capture prey, primarily insects.

With its spiked armor and skillful web-spinning abilities, the Spiny Orb-Weaver exemplifies nature’s remarkable adaptations for survival in its diverse habitat.


Spikes are essential to the survival and defense of many different animals.

These spikes provide effective predator defense in mammals such as hedgehogs, porcupines, and reptiles such as the armadillo-girded lizard.

Spiky species, such as the thorny dragon and sea urchins, rely on their prickly exteriors to protect themselves in their specific habitats.

Poisonous spined animals, such as lionfish and crown-of-thorns starfish, keep predators at bay and aid in prey capture.

These incredible adaptations show the numerous strategies that animals adapt to thrive in the wild. 

Spikes are an important defense mechanism that allows these species to avoid being eaten while maintaining their place in nature’s delicate balance.

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