The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park announced their first ever birth of a Prehensile-tailed Porcupine (Coendou prehensilis). She’s been named Pollie. Olivier, the Porcupette’s father, has been at the zoo since 1998 and is a star education animal. His mate, Miss Piggy, arrived in 2010 as a breeding companion and to ease Ollie’s show schedule.
In late 2011, Miss Piggy’s weight began to steadily increase. The zoo’s veterinary staff attempted to perform a couple of voluntary ultrasounds during her pregnancy, but due to normal gas pockets within a porcupine’s abdomen, they were unsuccessful in viewing the growing baby. After a gestation of roughly 203 days, the uncomfortable mother finally gave birth on August 2, to a baby weighing just about 12 ounces (396 grams). She was covered with long, soft, reddish quills at birth, but the thicker, sharper adult quills quickly began to appear.
Prehensile-tailed Porcupines are listed as a species of Least Concern due to their wide distribution across northern South America and a presumed large population. Just over 100 individuals live within AZA zoos. Ollie and Miss Piggy were one of twenty-two pairs recommended to breed by the Species Coordinator.
Photo Credit: St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park