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 2, to 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