Zoo Buddy: African Crested Porcupines!

Meet Willow! She's a baby North African Crested Porcupine at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 10:36 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The bark is bigger than the bite is true with these guys! North African Crested Porcupines can look scary with the quills, but Lisa Taylor with the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo says they’re not going to quill you unless they feel threatened.

We met willow when she was just a baby, but now she’s about a year old and still growing!

“These guys max out at about 60 pounds and they’re in the rodent family,” says Taylor, the zoo’s general curator. “Besides being in the rodent family, their unique features are these beautiful quills that are all over her and they are super sharp. An old wives tale is that they shoot their quills but in reality, they do not shoot their quills. They actually have to run backward and stick them into the predator or person they’re afraid of usually when they use their quills.”

Taylor says the quills stand up straight on their backs and after running back into the predator the quills will release.

“These guys are nocturnal. They actually come out at nighttime to feed. They’re herbivores, so they like to eat plant material but they really like to dig and eat roots of trees and tubers; and her favorite thing right now is sweet potatoes, which is a tuber, and she really loves walnuts and grapes,” says Taylor.

They’ve also got another exhibit with older porcupines at the zoo. You can visit the animals from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the week.

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