The male baby North American Porcupine – which is known as a porcupette — was born April 8 to parents Zeus and Athena.
The baby, which is currently unnamed, can now be seen at the zoo. This is the second North American porcupine born at Zoo Boise. Olympus was born July 27.
According to a Zoo Boise news release, Athena spends most of her day sleeping in the trees, while the baby is on the ground, but comes down to care for him and to sleep near him at night. This is normal porcupine behavior, according to the release. Within a few weeks, the baby will begin to eat vegetation and will learn to climb trees with her.
Porcupettes are born with soft quills, which harden within 30 minutes after birth. Contrary to popular belief, porcupines do no shoot or throw their quills as a defense. When attacked, porcupines tuck their heads between their front paws and turn so their quills face the attacker. The hollow, air-filled quills fall out of the porcupine’s skin easily. One North American porcupine can have as many as 30,000 quills.
The North American porcupines are located next to the penguin exhibit at Zoo Boise.