Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wildwood Wildlife Park Welcomes Porcupette Spike

Did you know that a baby porcupine is known as a porcupette? They are! Our zoo is happy to introduce Spike, a three-day old porcupette. I'm sure you will agree that he is adorable!

Our zoo has three different species of porcupine: North American, South American and AfricanSpike is a North American Porcupine.

There are two main groups of porcupine: Old World Porcupines which are mainly ground-dwelling animals while the other species, New World Porcupines, are animals that can climb trees. Can you guess which group Spike and his parents are?

Like all porcupettes, Spike was born with soft quills that become hard within hours following birth. Did you know that quills are hairs with barbed tips on the end? Quills are solid at the tip and base but most of the quill shaft is hollow. Porcupines are good swimmers, its hollow quills help keep it afloat. A single porcupine can have as many as 30,000 needle-like quills. The quills are found on all parts of the body, except for a porcupine's stomach; the longest quills are on its rump and the shortest quills are on its cheek. 

Porcupines have hairless soles on their strong feet; their curved claws and flat paws are known as master-climbers.

Porcupines are herbivores; they like to eat leaves, twigs and green plants. They do not hibernate and in the winter they will climb trees to find food, most bark and tender twigs.

The porcupine is a solitary animal but it is very vocal and has a wide variety of calls including grunts, coughs and tooth clicking!

Baby porcupines begin foraging for food after only a couple of days; babies stay with their mother for about six months. We hope you'll visit the zoo and welcome Spike as one of our newest residents.