Prickly New Baby Arrives at Stone Zoo


The Stone Zoo, part of Zoo New England, recently welcomed a few new members to their collection. Among them, was a Prehensile-Tailed Porcupine that was born just over a month ago on February 16th. The little one was born to mother Comica (14) and father Elvis (6), after a gestation of roughly six and half months. The breeding was a result of a recommendation by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' Prehensile-Tailed Porcupine Species Survival Plan, which aims to conserve the species. 

Prehensile-Tailed Porcupines are born with the eyes already wide open, and are able to use their unique prehensile tails, which are used to grip various objects, right away. Babies have dense coats of reddish hair and sharp quills that are around 15 millimeters long. Not surprisingly, there isn't a whole lot of contact between the prickly mother and offspring, and the two only typically come together when it is time for the baby to nurse.  


Photo credits: Stone Zoo

Prehensile-Tailed Porcupines are native to Central and South America. They live primarily arboreal lives, and use their prehensile tail to help them navigate through the forest canopy. In the trees, they forge for their vegetarian diet of flowers, leaves, shoots, and a special cambium layer that can be found beneath the bark of certain trees. When threatened, porcupines will curl up into a ball and shake their spines vigorously to fend off potential attackers. 

Name the Christmas Porcupette Born at Linton Zoo

Pork CU

Just when the staff at Linton Zoo thought that they were done with baby animal births for the year, they were delighted to discover this tiny bundle on the 10th of December, sporting more prickles than a Christmas tree! The baby African Crested Porcupine was born to first-time mom Halla and dad Henry, who are proving to be the perfect parents, regularly feeding and grooming the little porcupette and keeping it nice and warm under the heat lamp. The gestation period is approximately 112 days and a baby is born looking just like a miniature adult.

And now the public has been invited to suggest names on Linton Zoo's Facebook page. Since the baby's gender is not yet known, they ask for names that are suitable for either a male or female. The person who suggests the chosen name will receive an annual sponsorship of the porcupette. A sponsorship pack can be mailed anywhere in the world. 

African Crested Porcupines come from Sub-saharan Africa and live in rocky outcrops and hills. They are nocturnal and spend most of the day sleeping, waking occasionally to eat. Their quills, which are simply modified hairs, detach easily, giving rise to the myth that they ‘fire’ the quills... but that is untrue. If a predator approaches, the Porcupine will rattle the hollow quills in its tail, followed by a series of growls, grunts and foot-stomping. Only if this fails to deter the attacker will it charge backwards to impale the threat with their spikes. 

Pork w: dad(2)

Pork w. dad xxx
Photo Credit: Linton Zoo

Naturally the new arrival is proving to be bit of a distraction. Due to infrared lamps, it’s easy for staff to see into the nest box without the porcupines knowing they are there. They find it fascinating to watch the interaction between the parents and their new baby. Both Mom and Dad are very attentative, especially Henry, who’s often left to babysit while Halla goes forraging for food.

Watch this video to see for yourself; it shows how really tiny the porcupette is!

Chester Zoo Porcupettes Have Their First Check-up

Porc-Noko CU

Two baby Porcupines have had their first ever health check-ups at Chester Zoo. The African Crested Porcupines, named Stempu and Noko, were born on September 1 and 4 respectively, to mom Roxie and dad Nungu. 

Keepers gave the duo a physical examination, inserted microchips and took their weights during the routine checks. 
Keeper Chris Grindle, seen here, said, “We're very pleased to say that both of our spiky new arrivals are in great shape. Noko tipped the scales at 865g (1.9 pounds) while Stempu was a little heavier at 1075g (2.4 pounds). Both look to be very healthy indeed and so we are extremely pleased with them – as are our visitors judging by their reactions when they see them.” 

Porc Noko keep

Porc weighed


Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

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Prehensile-tailed Porcupette Born at St. Augustine Alligator Farm

1 baby

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park announced their first ever birth of a Prehensile-tailed Porcupine (Coendou prehensilis). She's been named Pollie. Olivier, the Porcupette’s father, has been at the zoo since 1998 and is a star education animal. His mate, Miss Piggy, arrived in 2010 as a breeding companion and to ease Ollie’s show schedule.

In late 2011, Miss Piggy’s weight began to steadily increase. The zoo’s veterinary staff attempted to perform a couple of voluntary ultrasounds during her pregnancy, but due to normal gas pockets within a porcupine’s abdomen, they were unsuccessful in viewing the growing baby. After a gestation of roughly 203 days, the uncomfortable mother finally gave birth on August 2to a baby weighing just about 12 ounces (396 grams). She was covered with long, soft, reddish quills at birth, but the thicker, sharper adult quills quickly began to appear.

Prehensile-tailed Porcupines are listed as a species of Least Concern due to their wide distribution across northern South America and a presumed large population. Just over 100 individuals live within AZA zoos.  Ollie and Miss Piggy were one of twenty-two pairs recommended to breed by the Species Coordinator.



Photo Credit: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

Introducing Pip the Porcupine Pup

The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust recently welcomed a baby African Crested Porcupine named Pippa or Pip for short. Baby porcupines are called "porcupettes" and their quills are soft for the first few days. However in adulthood this porcupine's quills provide a potent defensive weapon. When threatened, this species turns away from its aggressor, stamps its little feet, then charges rear-end first with its sturdiest quills sticking straight out. Doesn't look like Pip or mom have too much to be upset about though in salad paradise.

Newborn porcupine Pippa Credit Colm Farrington

Newborn porcupine Pippa Credit Colm Farrington20Photo credits: Colm Farrington

Baby Cape Porcupine aka "Prickly Piggy"

This baby Cape porcupine was born June 6th at Switzerland's Zoo Basel. Unusually long-lived for a rodent, Cape porcupines live up to 20 years. Although the English name is hardly any better, we are always amused by the German translations of animal names, in this case the German word for "baby porcupine" roughly translates to "Prickly Piggy." 

Mom has food. Baby prickly pig is intrigued
Baby porcupine zoo basel 1 rs

Baby porcupine zoo basel 1b rs

Perhaps nuzzling will provide access to delicious carrot
Baby porcupine zoo basel 2

Baby porcupine zoo basel 3 rs closeup

Is there delicious carrot in this porcu's future? Tune in next week to find out.