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Prehensile-tailed Porcupette Gets Special Care at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

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On August 28, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo welcomed a Prehensile-tailed Porcupine, born mom Emma and dad Wilbur. There are times, both in zoos and in the wild, when parents has trouble accepting or caring for their offspring. Keepers noticed that Emma was not feeding her baby, and so the male porcupette has been getting supplemental bottle feedings from animal care staff. The parents have stayed nearby and are begining to show signs of bonding with their baby. In the photos, the porcupette is shown bonding with his father for the very first time on October 30.

In the meantime, his keepers are taking good care of him. 

"He's a trooper," says Steve Kinczel, a veteran  keeper for The RainForest exhibit who has been bottle-feeding the baby. "He's had a good appetite from the beginning." Kinczel, who named the baby Eddie, said he is eating solid food now but his diet continues to be supplemented with bottle feeding four times a day. His diet includes carrots, sweet potatoes and greens along with some rodent chow.

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5 porcupinePhoto credits: Gus Chan/The Plain Dealer, Cleveland 1, 2; Cleveland Zoo 3-6

Click here to see a slideshow of many more wonderful photos of Eddie the porcupette, taken by photographer Gus Chan.

Prehensile-tailed Porcupines are born with their eyes open and claws fully formed. Their quills, which are soft at birth, harden in about a week. These porcupines, a group of species native to South America, are named for their special ability to grasp and hang from branches by their tails.