The little porcupette was born at the Washington D.C. zoo in November

By Claudia Harmata
December 17, 2019 02:57 PM

This little porcupette goes by Quilliam!

In November, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. welcomed a new little porcupine to their ranks, and earlier this month, asked followers to vote on a potential name for the little newcomer.

“The name for a baby porcupine is a PORCUPETTE. And we have a new one at @NationalZoo who needs a name of his own! We are asking for your help to pick a name for our prehensile-tailed porcupine born in November,” the Smithsonian wrote on Twitter on Dec. 11.

“What should our @NationalZoo porcupette’s name be?,” the museum added, including a poll for followers to vote through. “His parents are Quillber (!) and Beatrix, should that affect your choice.”

While zoo officials said Quilly McQuillface was not an option, they did let the public choose from either Quilliam, Quillson, Prickles or Gonzo. The first name took home the most votes with 43.4 percent approval, while Prickles finished in second place with 26.6 percent.

“We’ll get right to the point: Our @NationalZoo porcupette’s name will be Quilliam! Thanks to all who voted and while we know we said no write-ins, shout-out to all of you who suggested quill․i․am,” the Smithsonian updated its followers on Dec. 13.

Officials also went on to explain that naming the little porcupines helps zoo keepers during training and “for things like ultrasounds and learning to touch targets.” Most of the time, the porcupettes are named within the first two months of being born.


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Experts then revealed some other fun facts about the prehensile-tailed animals, whose tails are almost as long as their bodies and are used to grasp tree branches like an extra limb.

They also told followers that while the animal’s quills are tough (as expected), “porcupine noses feel like marshmallows.”

According to the zoo’s website, Quilliam and his species are native to South America in Venezuela, Guiana, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Trinidad, and some northern regions of Argentina. Their life expectancy is anywhere from 12 to 17 years.