Porcupine Mother 'Prickles' Welcomes Baby Porcupette at New England Zoo

The new addition is the third offspring born to parents Prickles and Shadow, two prehensile-tailed porcupines at the Stone Zoo in Massachusetts

baby porcupine
New baby porcupine at Stone Zoo. Photo: Zoo New England

A New England zoo recently welcomed a new — and spiky — addition to their animal family.

On June 25, a prehensile-tailed porcupette (baby porcupine) was born at the Stone Zoo in Massachusetts to its mother — who is aptly named, Prickles, according to a press release from the zoo.

The baby porcupine is the third offspring born to Prickles and her mate Shadow. The zoo said that the currently unnamed porcupette weighed just over a pound at birth.

"Prickles and her new baby are doing great," Pete Costello, an assistant curator at Stone Zoo, said in a statement. "The baby is gaining weight at a healthy pace and adapting well. The staff weighs the porcupette every morning, despite the challenge of getting the little ball of quills on the scale!"

According to the zoo, the baby porcupine appeared "healthy and alert" during its first medical exam two days after its birth. The young animal's zookeepers believe the new arrival is male, but the caretakers have yet to determine the porcupette's sex officially.

The Stone Zoo participates in the Prehensile-tailed Porcupine Species Survival Plan (SSP), according to the New England facility's release, which is a "cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)."

baby porcupine
New baby porcupine at Stone Zoo. Zoo New England

The program helps "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."

The Stone Zoo explained that its new baby porcupine's birth occurred after the "recommended breeding" of its parents.

Prehensile-tailed porcupines are born with soft quills that eventually harden, according to the zoo. They use their tails as a "fifth limb" to grasp tree branches.

"They are fairly independent after birth and don't nurse often, so guests may see the baby by themself," according to Stone Zoo's release.

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