EL PASO, Texas – The El Paso Zoo is welcoming a new baby into the South American Pavilion. The porcupine was born on September 16 to mom Flower and dad Vito. This is first offspring for the 4-year-old prehensile tailed porcupines – and the first baby prehensile tailed porcupine born at the Zoo.
Zoo staff is waiting to name the baby porcupine, or porcupette, under the sex of the baby can be determined in a few weeks. The porcupette weighed .95 pounds when it was born. The face of a prehensile tailed porcupine is irresistible – two dark round eyes and a curiously large, bulbous, whiskered nose set in a soft ball of speckled spines. The baby’s quills will turn from soft and orange colored to hard about 1-2 weeks after the baby’s birth, so resist the urge to cuddle!
“Animal care staff were excited getting ready for the first prehensile tailed porcupine birth at the Zoo since they confirmed the pregnancy,” said Collections Supervisor Tammy Sundquist. “It’s always a joy getting to watch a baby grow and the animal care staff is monitoring Flower and baby closely.”
Flower and the baby are bonding behind the scenes and will be on exhibit next month.
This birth is part of a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) to aid in the species’ conservation. Prehensile tailed porcupines are not listed as threatened or endangered, but are pressured by habitat loss and are killed in parts of their range by hunters.