A pair of porcupine babies – known as porcupettes – made a surprise appearance at Cotswold Wildlife Park in Oxfordshire over the Easter holiday.
Keepers were hoping their recently introduced parents – two-year-old female Hannah and resident male Cape porcupine Prickle – would produce their first litter soon and were delighted to discover two tiny new arrivals during their early morning checks.
Keeper Estelle Morgan explains; “As soon as Hannah was introduced into the enclosure, they immediately began grooming each other and establishing their monogamous pair-bond. They were sleeping side by side from day one and were seen mating not long after”.
“Hannah gave birth overnight and I found the babies running and squeaking at each other in the morning. On the first checks, both adults were asleep with the porcupettes tucked underneath them so they weren’t discovered until I went into the enclosure to clean and feed them. I suspected Hannah might be pregnant as we had observed them mating frequently but we didn’t expect them to be born quite so soon! I even saw Prickle mating with her the night before she gave birth. We have sexed the twins and they’re both boys”.
It is only the second time in the Park’s forty-nine-year history this species has successfully bred. The porcupette babies – named Boulder and Shrimpy – are on show in the enclosure they share with a group of inquisitive dwarf mongooses.
The Park also recently welcomed the arrival of a Kirk’s dik-dik calf, Parma wallaby joeys, emperor tamarin twins and three ostrich chicks.
For more information on visiting go to www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk
Video credit: Estelle Morgan