The newest addition to the Binghamton Zoo made its arrival on Super Bowl weekend. A healthy prehensile-tailed porcupette (young porcupine) was born on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018.
This is the third porcupette birth for parents Mattie and Zoey. In the past, Zoey has given birth on Father’s Day 2015 and Saint Patrick’s Day 2016.
The Binghamton Zoo animal care team has been monitoring the progress of the porcupette and its parents. Weighing in at 690 grams, the baby has progressively gained weight since its birth weight of 429 grams.
Like the other births, this is a major success for the prehensile-tailed porcupine’s Species Survival Plan. Mattie and Zoey have remained a successful breeding pair for their program. Their previous offspring have gone to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Zoo Miami to be matched with other porcupines in the prehensile-tailed porcupine Species Survival Plan.
Each Species Survival Plan carefully manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. The Binghamton Zoo is proud to be a contributor to the captive population and is eager to continue participating in the program. The zoo is active in 24 Species Survival Plan programs altogether.
Porcupines are not born with sharp or barbed quills. Instead, the quills are soft and bendable, gradually hardening in the first few days after birth. Their quills will reach maturity after 10 weeks. They are dependent on its mother for nutrition the first four weeks after birth, eventually foraging for other food sources and will then be completely weaned at 15 weeks.
Prehensile-tailed porcupines are found in South America. They feed on the bark of trees, buds, fruits, roots, stems, leaves, blossoms, seeds, and crops like corn and bananas.
The porcupine is currently on exhibit with its parents Zoey and Mattie.
The Binghamton Zoo is located at 60 Morgan Rd. in Binghamton, N.Y. For information, call (607) 724-5461 or visit the zoo’s website at rossparkzoo.com.