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Stone Zoo welcomes prehensile-tailed porcupette


We’ll get straight to the point: a prehensile-tailed porcupette is now on exhibit at Stone Zoo!

The baby, born on June 25, is the third offspring for mom, Prickles, age 9, and dad, Shadow, age 10. The newest prickly addition was born on exhibit weighing just over one pound and is settling in well with the family in the Windows to the Wild space.

The baby, believed to be male, received its first medical exam on June 27 and appeared healthy and alert. As with any new birth, the veterinary and animal management staff are closely monitoring the mother and baby.

“Prickles and her new baby are doing great,” says Pete Costello, the Assistant Curator at Stone Zoo. “The baby is gaining weight at a healthy pace and adapting well. The staff weigh the porcupette every morning, despite the challenge of getting the little ball of quills on the scale!”

Zoo New England participates in the Prehensile-tailed Porcupine Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). SSPs help to ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered, and enhance conservation of these species in the wild. This birth is the result of a recommended breeding between Prickles and Shadow.

Shadow is one of Stone Zoo’s ambassador animals, whose role includes training by staff for interaction with the public to support education and conservation goals. Ambassador animals play a key role in connecting people with nature and the issues affecting the species or its native habitat. Zoo New England is committed to inspire people to protect the natural world by creating engaging experiences integrating wildlife and education, making ambassador animals like Shadow an important part of the Zoo New England family.

Prehensile-tailed porcupines are born with soft quills that will harden over time. They are fairly independent after birth and don’t nurse often, so guests may see the baby by themself. They are nocturnal and spend much time resting during the day. Prehensile-tailed porcupines are found in the forests of South America; their tails act like a fifth limb, helping them grasp branches as they move through trees.