Check out this adorable baby porcupine - called a porcupette - that was born at Brookfield Zoo on July 2. The porcupette is the first of its species, the prehensile-tailed porcupine, to be born at Brookfield Zoo. After monitoring the mother, 5-year-old Lucia, for an extended period of time, it became clear that she was not going to provide her offspring proper maternal care, as she was not allowing him to nurse. At that time, animal care and veterinary staff made the decision to intervene and hand-rear the baby, who is thriving.
Following a gestation of about 203 days, a porcupette, weighing just under a pound, is born with soft quills that protect the mom during the birthing process. After a few days, the quills harden with keratin, which gives them their sharpness. Baby porcupines are relatively mature and mobile immediately following birth.
Both Lucia and the porcupette’s dad, 4-year-old Eddie, are members of Brookfield Zoo’s Animal Ambassador Program and can be seen in Hamill Family Play Zoo. Once the young porcupine is weaned from the bottle, he will also be a part of this program, which offers guests the opportunity to have up-close experiences with many of the animals.