Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, welcomed a prickly arrival on May 15 with the birth of a North American porcupine, seen here not even a week old. The baby porcupine, known as a porcupette, weighed just over a pound at birth. The gender is still unknown because of difficulty determining the gender of newborn porcupines. This marks the third birth for parents Molly and Oliver, both 4 years old.
Mom and baby spend most of their time in an off-view den in the Northern Trail exhibit with access to the public exhibit. Zookeepers expect the porcupette will begin venturing into the public exhibit on its own by about 2 weeks old. Guests can now see the mom going back and forth between the den and public exhibit.
In the wild, female porcupines leave their babies during the day and usually nurse them once in the evening.
Porcupettes become active quickly and, as natural tree dwellers, their climbing instincts take hold within weeks. Climbing makes foraging easier on the young, a skill set they exercise early in their development as they wean themselves from mom and transition to an herbivorous diet of leaves, twigs and bark.
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Zoo guests will begin seeing the porcupette more frequently as it becomes more active and curious.