Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of two Cape Porcupines. The porcupettes (the common name for baby porcupines) were born on February 24 each weighing approximately 450 grams (about a pound). Sex has yet to be determined. Both mother and porcupettes are doing fine.
"Mkali (the mother) has been well trained which is very beneficial for her keepers," said Nate Morris, one of the porcupine keepers at Nashville Zoo. "She's learned how to voluntarily let our veterinary team ultrasound her so we've been able to follow her pregnancy up to birth. This has given us valuable information about porcupine reproduction and biology."
The two porcupettes will stay with the mother and father (Jake) until the animal care team can accurately determine sex. At that point, they will either relocate to meet new mates or become animal ambassadors for their species.
Cape Porcupines (Hystrix africaeaustralis) are native to Central and Southern Africa and are not considered endangered. Farmers consider this species a pest because they are known to destroy crops. Nashville Zoo has four Cape Porcupines including the new additions. Nashville Zoo also participates in the Cape Porcupine Species Survival Plan (SSP) in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. To date, six Cape Porcupines have been born at Nashville Zoo.