Lake Superior Zoo Revue: Prehensile-Tailed Porcupine
The Lake Superior Zoo is home to many different types of animals of all sizes and species. And one of their animals in the Nocturnal exhibit is Zoey a 9 year old Prehensile-Tailed Porcupine. Haley from Lake Superior Zoo explained that they keep the Nocturnal exhibit dark during the day so the animals will tend to be more active and then at 8:30 at night when the zoo is closed they turn the lights on and the animals settle down to sleep.
The Prehensile-tailed porcupines can be found in many South American countries such as Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina. They live in lowland rainforests and dry forests. They are herbivores which means they eat plants like leaves, bark, flowers, and roots. As you can see from the picture above Zoey loves to eat corn on the cob too.
This type of porcupine uses it's prehensile tail to help them grasp and hang on to trees where they spend 85% of their lives. Porcupines use their quills for protection but they don’t shoot their quills out like most people think. If they are in danger, they will turn their back on approaching predators, raise their quills, and use their tail to defend themselves. The quills have barbs that become embedded in an animal that gets to close.
This type of porcupine also has a distinct odor, when I was close to Zoey the smell was like human body odor. Not very pleasant but thankfully when they are in their exhibits you are not able to get a whiff of them. Thanks to their tail they are good tree climbers and make their dens in high branches and hollow trees.
Prehensile-tailed porcupines have many sounds they use to communicate like whines, grunts, barks, and even coughs and they sometimes make the cutest squeaking sounds when they are eating kind of like some humans I know as well. Next time you stop by Lake Superior Zoo make sure to check out Zoey in the nocturnal building and say hello.