PALM DESERT, Calif. - Cute as a button baby porcupines, known as porcupettes, were born at The Living Desert on Saturday, May 4th, the offspring of proud porcupine parents Nasura (male) and Skittles (female).
The African crested porcupettes are on exhibit with their parents now and will have their well-baby exam soon. Both are doing well and sees) will be determined at their first exam. With their births, The Living Desert now has five African crested porcupines and two North American porcupines.
"It's always exciting when new life is born here and these little porcupettes couldn't be cuter," says Stacey Johnson, President/CEO of The Living Desert. "These two prickly newbies will no doubt charm our visitors with their fascinating traits and personalities."
The African crested porcupine is the largest porcupine in the world. At birth, baby porcupines are born with open eyes and have soft quills, which harden quickly once exposed to air, in about 30 minutes. Quills are actually modified hair and contrary to popular belief, porcupines do not shoot or throw their quills as a defense. African crested porcupines have tail quills that make a hissing sound when rattled. When threatened, they will raise and fan their quills to look bigger, stamp their feet, and whirr the quills in warning and then charge backward to stab the offender. These attacks are known to have killed lions, leopards, hyenas, and even humans.
African crested porcupines are terrestrial and rarely climb, but can swim. The animals are nocturnal herbivores and within about two weeks will begin eating vegetation,. Like all rodents, a porcupine's incisor teeth continuously grow and are kept sharp by continuous wear against each other. Porcupines are very nearsighted, but have a keen sense of smell and hearing.