Baby Porcupine 'Thriving' at Chicago Zoo Thanks to Bottle Feedings

The baby porcupine — also known as a porcupette — will be bottled-fed at the Brookfield Zoo until they are old enough for a solid food diet

Photo: Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo

There's a new porcupette at the Brookfield Zoo.

According to a release from the Chicago zoo, their 9-year-old porcupine Lucia gave birth to a baby — also known as a porcupette — on March 19.

Lucia, who shares the baby porcupine with 8-year-old Eddie, did not provide her new baby with "proper maternal care" after the birth, so the zoo stepped in to look after the porcupette.

The baby animal, which has yet to be sexed or named, is currently receiving round-the-clock support from the Brookfield Zoo's animal care specialists. This dedicated care includes regular bottle feedings of a special formula created to help the porcupette grow up healthy.

Over time, the zoo will slowly wean the baby porcupine off the formula. At ten weeks old, the prickly offspring should be able to enjoy a diet of solids, including sweet potato, green beans, corn, carrots, spinach, kale, peanuts, and sunflower seeds.

"The baby is thriving from the around-the-clock care provided by zoo staff, and is growing strong due to a special customized formula. Once the baby grows big enough, you'll get an up-close look at the porcupette through the Hamill Family Play Zoo's Animal Ambassadors program!" the Brookfield Zoo shared on Facebook, along with a video of the new arrival, about what's ahead for the animal.

Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo

At birth, baby porcupines have "soft and bendable quills that protect the mom during the birthing process," which harden in the days after the birth, according to the zoo's release. Prehensile-tailed porcupines, like the Brookfield Zoo's new baby, are native to the high-elevation rain forests of South America.

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