Lehigh Valley Zoo
February 6, 2017
|Schnecksville, PA – The Conservation Education Keepers at Lehigh Valley Zoo are pleased to announce the birth of a prehensile-tailed porcupine, which marks the third birth of this species at the Zoo. The baby porcupine, also known as a porcupette, was born on January 17, 2017 to Jasmine and Quill.
Lehigh Valley Zoo participates in the Prehensile-tailed Porcupine Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species. This birth is the result of a recommended breeding between Jasmine and Quill, who are genetically valuable within the North American captive population.
Prehensile-tailed porcupines are primarily arboreal (tree-living), nocturnal animals native to Central and South America with an excellent sense of smell and hearing. Prehensile-tailed porcupines are born with their eyes open and a functional, prehensile tail. A baby prehensile-tailed porcupine looks very different than its parents. Its fur is copper red in color unlike the adults’ dark brown and black fur. One thing they have in common, however, is quills. Porcupettes are born with quills, but the quills are soft when they are first born but harden quickly, immediately preparing it for protection from predators. The prehensile-tailed porcupine differs from the North American porcupine (one of the North American Trail species at the Lehigh Valley Zoo) as they are smaller, more arboreal and have a long prehensile tail to help them navigate through the forest canopy.