Brookfield, Unwell. – On March 19, the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, welcomed a brand new addition—a porcupette (child porcupine) who was born on March 19. The new child is being handreared by animal care workers after it was noticed the porcupette’s mother, 9-year-old Lucia, was not offering her offspring correct maternal care.
The unsexed child porcupine is flourishing and being cared for across the clock by the animal care specialists. At present, the porcupette is fed a formulation, which was developed by CZS’s director of vitamin. Because the child develops, instances between every feeding will enhance till it’s weaned at round 10 weeks outdated. As soon as weaned, workers will start introducing the younger porcupine to a food regimen consisting of quite a lot of greens, together with candy potato, inexperienced beans, corn, carrots, spinach, and kale, in addition to a nutrient-based biscuit, peanuts, and sunflower seeds.
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At start, a porcupette weighs just below a pound and is born with delicate and bendable quills that shield the mother through the birthing course of. After just a few days, the quills harden with keratin—the identical substance present in hair and fingernails—giving them their sharpness. Prehensile-tailed porcupines are born with a rusty-colored coat that helps them mix in with their surroundings. Much like a deer fawn, a porcupette hides and waits for its mom to come back to it for nursing.
Prehensile-tailed porcupines are discovered all through a lot of South America, together with in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Trinidad, and northern Argentina, and stay in high-elevation rain forests. Regarded as just like North American porcupines, prehensile-tailed porcupines are inclined to have particular person territories—females have unique ones, however males typically have territories that overlap and will fluctuate extensively in dimension.
Their lengthy tail is used to wrap round branches whereas climbing. No matter what some would possibly suppose, porcupines don’t shoot their quills, that are simply modified hairs. Porcupines have muscle tissues on the base of every quill that permit the quills to face up when the animal is worked up or alarmed. Like all hairs, quills do shed, and when a porcupine shakes, free quills come out.
Each Lucia and the porcupette’s dad, 8-year-old Eddie, are members of Brookfield Zoo’s Animal Ambassador Program and could be seen in Hamill Household Play Zoo. As soon as the younger porcupine is weaned from the bottle, he may even be part of this program, which affords company the chance to have up-close experiences with most of the animals.
Picture credit score: Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo