Friday, April 25, 2014

Porcupine baby will make you squee

Posted by: Gigi Allianic with Rebecca Whitham, Communications


She’s got quills, they’re multiplying.

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

The littlest new addition to Woodland Park Zoo is a female North American porcupine, born April 4 in our Northern Trail exhibit.

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Porcupine babies, known as porcupettes (seriously), are born with a soft coat of quills that begins to harden within hours of birth. This immediately protects them from predators...and thick gloves immediately protect us from them!

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Our porcupette was born to Molly and Oliver, both 3-year-old residents of Northern Trail. This is their second offspring. The baby has access all day and night to the porcupine exhibit, but for now prefers to spend most of her time exploring in a den behind the scenes.

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

She grooms herself a lot and is experimenting with different solid foods, like this specially prepared biscuit designed for leafeaters that looks enormous in her tiny hands.

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Zoo guests will begin seeing her more frequently on exhibit as she becomes more active and curious. Porcupettes become active quickly and, as natural tree dwellers, their climbing instincts take hold within weeks of delivery. Climbing makes foraging easier on the young, a skill set they exercise early in their development as they wean themselves from mom and transition to an herbivorous diet of leaves, twigs and bark.

5 comments:

  1. How is Gavin doing? Is he still at the zoo? When's the best time to see Gavin and this little girl?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gavin has moved to another zoo now that he's older and independent. This little porcupette has access to her exhibit all day, but it's her choice whether she goes outside. For now, there are no best times, but as we observe her and get a sense of her patterns, we'll see if that changes.

      Delete
  2. Are her eyes really that blue, and will they stay that way?

    And I'm behind in my zoo history, but how long has there been a breeding pair? I only remember loving the big stinky guy from about five(ish?) years ago. I thought he died, though?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are indeed that blue for now but they'll change as she gets older.

      Our breeding pair arrived here in 2011, but they were just babes then themselves.

      Delete
  3. Saw her today - she is cute!!!

    ReplyDelete