There's a spikey new addition to Zoo Magdeburg's family of North American Porcupines: a porcupette, whose sex is still undetermined, was born on April 1st. Recently, the shy porcupette sat quietly on a scale to be weighed, but scurried back to mom as soon as the adventure was over. The baby weighed a healthy 870 grams. Fully grown, North American Porcupines will weigh from five to ten kilograms.
In addition to the newborn, Zoo Magdeburg has two adult females and one adult male, which live in an exhibit with Black-tailed Prairie Dogs. The zoo's first successful breeding occured in 2003, with the offspring now living at Duisburg Zoo.
Photo Credits: Zoo Magdeburg
Read more about North American Porcupines below the fold.
North American Porcupines are a common species, ranging from Canada and Alaska through northern Mexico. Mainly nocturnal, these herbivores eat leaves, seeds, fruits, nuts and bark, and often rest in trees. They are the second largest North American rodent, after American Beavers, and can live for up to twenty years. After mating, which occurs during the fall season, the male porcupine will spray the female with a foul-smelling secretion that warns other males to stay away. The gestation period lasts about 210 days. In the spring, porcupettes are born with soft quills that harden within a few hours. The porcupette will begin to forage for food at a few days old, but stays close to mom for the first six months.