Prehensile-tailed Porcupine Born at Lehigh Valley Zoo

Jun 6th, 2013Press Release from Lehigh Valley Zoo

Prehensile-tailed Porcupine Born at Lehigh Valley Zoo


babyporcupineBaby name: Not yet, gender unknown

Parents: Jasmine (female) and Quill (male)

Date of birth: April 23, 2013

Porcupette weight: 482 grams

Conservation Status: Destruction of the rainforest in Brazil may be a factor in the decline of the prehensile-tailed porcupine.

Join us on Sunday, June 16th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Zoomagination Wing to meet and greet the Zoo’s spiky new addition – great photo opportunity!  The Conservation Education Keepers at Lehigh Valley Zoo are pleased to announce the birth of a prehensile-tailed porcupine, which marks the first birth of this species at the Zoo.  The baby porcupine, also known as a porcupette, was born on April 23rd to Jasmine and Quill.

Lehigh Valley Zoo participates in the Prehensile-tailed Porcupine Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species.  This birth is the result of a recommended breeding between Jasmine and Quill, who are genetically valuable within the North American captive population.

Prehensile-tailed porcupines are primarily arboreal (tree-living), nocturnal animals native to Central and South America with an excellent sense of smell and hearing. Prehensile-tailed porcupines are born with their eyes open and a functional, prehensile tail.  A baby prehensile-tailed porcupine looks very different than its parents.  Its fur is copper red in color unlike the adults’ dark brown and black fur.  One thing they have in common, however, is quills.  Porcupettes are born with quills, but the quills are soft when they are first born but harden quickly, immediately preparing it for protection from predators.  The prehensile-tailed porcupine differs from the North American porcupine (one of the North American Trail species at the Lehigh Valley Zoo) as they are smaller, more arboreal and have a long prehensile tail to help them navigate through the forest canopy.

The purpose of education at Lehigh Valley Zoo is to inspire and cultivate an informed community of conservation stewards.  The Zoo’s education animal collection includes 33 highly sociable species such as porcupine, penguin, sloth, tegu, opossum, and fennec fox.  This diverse collection of animals helps to provide educational programming taught by highly skilled conservation educators for our Zoo Reach Program (Zoo comes to you!), Zoo Activity Programs (ZAPs) for schools, Teacher Workshops, Summer Camps, Birthday Parties, and much more!  All education programs align with Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content.

New at the Zoo for 2013!  Lehigh Valley Zoo’s Porcupine Connection offers participants a nose-to-big round nose experience in an intimate group setting.  Porcupine Connection provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the Zoo’s prehensile-tailed porcupines up close.

For program information call 610-799-4171, ext 227.


Media Contact:  Richard D. Molchany, President and CEO, Lehigh Valley Zoological Society

Lehigh Valley Zoo

5150 Game Preserve Road, P.O. Box 519, Schnecksville, PA 18078

 gro.oozvlnull@ynahclomr; 610-799-4171, ext. 226


About Lehigh Valley Zoo

As a non-profit organization, Lehigh Valley Zoological Society is nine years young, but as a treasured community landmark, our history spans over a century.  Lehigh Valley Zoo’s core purpose – to save species from extinction – inspires our work, our conservation education programs, and our leadership in wildlife conservation. Lehigh Valley Zoo, located in the center of the scenic 1,100-acre Trexler Nature Preserve, is home to more than 294 animal ambassadors representing over 88 species.  The Zoo’s animal collection includes 24 species classified as endangered, threatened, or species of concern.


Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Zoo hosts family-friendly events, educational programs and camps. In 2012, attendance reached over 125,000 and over 35,000 students experienced our formal conservation education programs that meet Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content Standards. Voted Best Family Day Trip in The Morning Call’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2009, 2010 and 2011, the Zoo is open year-round and is operated by the Lehigh Valley Zoological Society, a private nonprofit organization.


For information on how to support the Zoo, current operating hours, admission rates, Zoo Reach Program (Zoo Comes to You!), volunteer opportunities and event details, visit, join our Facebook Page, or follow us on Twitter. Lehigh Valley Zoo is listed as an educational improvement organization under Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC).

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