We’re excited to share the news some prickly new friends have joined the Monarto Zoo family, with two African Crested Porcupines moving in!
Meet Oliver and Rita, who took up residence in a new habitat near the visitor centre last month.
The prickly pair are still settling in to their new home, but are becoming more adventurous everyday!
The pair, both born in 2015, arrived in April 2017 after making the journey from Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Kansas, USA.
The two porcupines are very inquisitive, and love digging and chewing everything throughout their exhibit. When they’re not nibbling on hard objects to keep their teeth under control, you can find them munching on some of their favourite snacks such as pumpkin, sweet corn and apple.
While they may look very similar to the untrained eye, our keepers have some secret tips to help tell the porcupines apart: Rita has a darker face, while Oliver sports light patches around his eyes.
The sweet couple have a very close bond and spend all of their time together, which is lucky as it’s hoped they will become a part of a breeding program here at Monarto Zoo, helping to ensure the future of this incredible species.
African Crested Porcupines are one of the largest rodents in the world – weighing up to a whopping 27kg and measuring almost one metre in length! These amazing mammals are covered in striking 35cm long, black and white quills, which provide excellent protection against predators such as lions and hyenas.
The best time to catch them is first thing in the morning when they enjoy their breakfast, so race in to Monarto Zoo soon to meet them for yourself.