Rare porcupette born in UK takes a seat in keeper’s hand

A rare species of porcupine notorious for being difficult to reproduce has given birth to a baby at a wildlife center for the second time since they began trying to breed them 10 years ago.

The porcupine-tailed predator has arrived at the Hemsley Conservation Center, Sevenoaks, Kent.

The zoo is one of only two in the UK to have a porcupine habitat and is the only zoo in the country with a mixed-gender breeding group.

The porcupine is the most prickly rodent and its numbers are dwindling in the wild.

The porcupine – as the little porcupine is known – arrived at 4.40pm on Christmas Day as the guards were finishing the day.

It is not yet known if he is male or female, and a name has not been given to him, but he was joined by his mother, father and older sister – who was born in the garden last year – for a family Christmas.

Very little is known about how the animals, which live in Central and South America, live in the wild.

They use their tail to spend most of the time in trees and can live into their twenties.

The plucked porcupine has fine hair but on its back, it is covered in sharp white feathers and can grab onto things with its tail, which can add another foot and a half to its length.

Tree rodents live in lowland rainforests, savannahs, or dry forests and feed mostly on fruit, seeds, and bark.

Although this species is not one of the most endangered animals, its wild habitats are threatened.

Babies look completely different when they are born, and how they will appear when they grow up.

They are born with bright orange hair and by about three weeks, they are growing feathers that completely cover their little bodies.

Adults grow to about 4.5 kg to 5 kg in weight and have a grippy tail and long clawed feet.

Although officially classified as Least Concern, their numbers are declining in the wild.


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