African crested porcupine, Cleo, gave birth to three porcupettes earlier this month at Palm Beach Zoo. The family unit will stay in their outfitted night house for the time being with daily "house call" health care checks by our veterinary team and zoologists. All three newborns are currently happy and healthy, but one of them is growing a bit slower than its siblings. In the wild world, having a “runt” of a litter is not uncommon. Unfortunately, a weaker newborn is much less likely to survive in nature. Here, the runt gets a second chance! Our animal care team is prepared for such situations and made the necessary decision to intervene. He/she is being hand-raised by animal experts with the hopes of being reintroduced to its family when the time is right. Until then, he/she is loving the extra attention from our volunteer porcu-sitters and zoologists.
LOTS MORE PHOTOS BELOW THE FOLD! : Zoologist Jen R
Prehensile-tailed porcupines, like Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s 2-week-old porcupette, are born with the ability to climb! At birth, their quills are soft, but they harden within minutes. The name prehensile means “capable of grasping”; the underside of its tail lacks quills, allowing the porcupine to grip branches with this appendage and navigate the forest canopy with ease.
All is well at ZOO Planckendael in the Netherlands. On Christmas Eve, they welcomed their fifth African Cape Porcupette this year! The baby joins siblings Wafa and Winga, born in February, as well as Willie and Wonka, born in June.
After 25 years without baby porcupettes at Planckendael, the 5 are a most welcome addition. Mom Stekeltje (Stake-el-che), the newborn baby, and siblings Willie and Wonka are bonding and adapting to the new family situation. Once the baby’s sex is known, he or she will receive a “W” name to match those of its siblings.
Despite appearances, porcupines are still fluffy at birth. Their quills harden over the first several weeks of life.
Fluffy, spiked, and ready to delight: three new faces at Zoo New England are small in stature but big in the cute factor. The arrival of two scaly-sided merganser ducklings at Franklin Park Zoo and a prehensile-tailed porcupette at Stone Zoo have given Zoo staff and guests alike reason to celebrate this spring.
Two tiny porcupettes, or baby porcupines, have been born to mother Stekeltje and father Loki at ZOO Planckendael in Belgium. The babies have been named Wafa & Winga after more than 2.000 people voted for these name choices. It’s the first time this species has been born at Planckendael, although they’ve had porcupines in their care for 25 years!
Already squeaking and stamping their feet when just a few days old, twin Porcupettes were surprise arrivals at Cotswold Wildlife Park.
The baby Cape Porcupines, both males, stay close to mom Hannah and dad Prickles and have begun to show their unique personalities. The larger, more confident twin has been named Boulder. His shy brother has been named Shrimpy. The pair recently ventured outdoors for the first time and closely followed Prickles during that big adventure.
Photo Credit: Estelle Morgan
The babies are miniature versions of their parents and were born with a full set of quills. After a gestation period of approximately 112 days (the longest gestation period of any Rodent), the female gives birth to offspring covered in soft, moist and flexible quills, enclosed in a thin placental sac. Immediately after birth, the quills quickly harden in the air and become prickly. Porcupines are born relatively well developed with eyes open and teeth present.
Hannah and Prickles were only recently introduced to each other and the care team was surprised how quickly they bonded with each other.
According to their keeper, Hannah and Prickles immediately began grooming each other and slept side by side from day one of their introduction. Keepers hoped the pair would someday have their first litter, but they weren’t expecting babies quite so soon. This is only the second time in the Park’s forty-nine-year history this species has successfully bred.
Twenty-five different Porcupine species span the globe. Their Latin name means “quill pig,” a reference to the approximately 30,000 sharp quills that adorn their back. Contrary to popular belief, they cannot fire their quills at enemies, but the slightest touch can lodge dozens of barbed quills into a predator’s body. The quills are modified hairs made of keratin (the same material as human hair, fingernails and Rhino horns). Each quill has up to 800 barbs near the tip. If threatened, Porcupines reverse charge into a predator, stabbing the enemy with its sharp quills. The resulting wound can disable or even kill predators including Lions, Leopards and Hyenas.
Unfortunately, Porcupines’ unique defense is also the biggest threat to their survival. Although naturally shed, Porcupines are killed for their quills. In traditional African medicine, puncturing the skin with Porcupine quills is believed to heal ailments such as fainting, lethargy, swollen legs and lameness. Porcupine meat is also in demand for its reputed healing properties. Quills are sought after as ornaments and talismans. Cape Porcupines are native to the southernmost third of Africa.
The Virginia Zoo kicked off Spring with two new babies! A Bongo calf and a Porcupette were born recently, and both will soon be seen on exhibit.
A Crested Porcupine baby, or 'porcupette', was born to parents, Wilma and Flapjack, on March 26. This is the second offspring for the parents. Keepers have been calling the new little female, Stompers. She weighed just over a pound at birth and is already starting to nibble on solid foods. Mom and baby are expected to be off exhibit in the ZooFarm for another week or so while they bond and the exhibit is “baby-proofed”. Crested Porcupines are native to various regions in Africa. The species can grow up to 25 to 32 inches long and weigh from 25 – 32 pounds.
Photo Credits: Virginia Zoo
A handsome male Eastern Bongo calf was born to mom, Betty, on April 5. He weighed 48.5 pounds at birth and is the seventh offspring for mom, Betty, and fifth for father, Bob. The new calf, which keepers named Boomer, brings the herd total to eight. Betty and new baby are out on exhibit with the rest of the herd and can be seen in their exhibit in the Africa – Okavango Delta at various times throughout the day, depending on weather conditions and their activity levels.
Bongo are large-bodied, relatively short-legged antelope with long spiraling horns that make one complete twist from base to tip. Bongos inhabit lowland forest of Kenya.
The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is getting right to the “point” by announcing the birth of a Prehensile-tailed Porcupine on July 2. The little male porcupette is the first of his kind to be born at Brookfield Zoo.
After monitoring the mother, 5-year-old Lucia, for an extended period of time, it became clear that she was not allowing the baby to nurse and would not be able to provide her offspring proper maternal care. At that time, animal care and veterinary staff made the decision to intervene and hand-rear the porcupette, who is now thriving.
Photo Credits: Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society / (Images 4-7 feature Maggie Chardell, a lead animal care specialist for the CZS, assisting in hand-rearing)
Following a gestation of about 203 days, the baby was born weighing just under a pound. The baby has soft quills that protect the mom during the birthing process, but after a few days, the quills harden with keratin, which gives them their sharpness.
Baby porcupines are relatively mature and mobile immediately following birth. Prehensile-tailed Porcupines are born with a rusty-brown colored coat that help them blend in with their environment. Similar to a young deer fawn, a porcupette hides and waits for its mother to come to it for nursing. A baby will typically continue to nurse until it is weaned at approximately 10 weeks of age.
Both Lucia and the porcupette’s dad, 4-year-old Eddie, are members of Brookfield Zoo’s Animal Ambassador Program and can be seen in Hamill Family Play Zoo. Once the young porcupine is weaned from the bottle, he will also be a part of this program, which offers guests the opportunity to have up-close experiences with many of the animals.
Prehensile-tailed Porcupines are native to South America and live in high-elevation rain forests. Their long tail is used to wrap around branches while climbing.
Despite what some might think, porcupines do not shoot their quills, which are just modified hairs made out of the same substance found in human hair and fingernails. Porcupines have muscles at the base of each quill that allow the quills to stand up when the animal is excited or alarmed. Like all hairs, quills do shed, and when the porcupines shake, loose quills come out. The ends of Prehensile-tailed Porcupines’ quills have a small barb (like a fish hook) that snags the flesh, keeping the quill stuck.