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Indian crested porcupine

Did you know?

Hystrix indica

A porcupine’s best defense is that formidable set of quills on its back. But it can’t “throw” them. Instead, it thrusts backward to spear a predator. The quills come loose and stick into skin, eyes or mouth.

Discover Porcupines

Habitat
Wild and Zoo
Indian crested porcupines live in rocky hills, deserts and forests from Turkey to India. They’re around 2-3 feet long, but their quills can be over a foot long! Find ours in the Asian Forest Sanctuary.
Asian Forest Sanctuary
Meet the Keepers
(not prickly at all)
Keepers in our Asian Forest Sanctuary give a talk each day at 12:30 pm – look for the signs in that area to find them. Ask questions about each animal, and find out how our zoo team feeds and cares for them.
See daily schedule
Eating
(and predators!)
Porcupines are mostly vegetarian – they eat fruits, nuts, bulbs, roots and bark. But they may chew on bones if they need extra calcium.
Their main predators are humans, tigers and other wild cats.
Porcupettes
Yes, really.
After a 112-day pregnancy, females give birth to a litter of 1-3 baby porcupines, called “porcupettes”.
The babies are born with soft quills that harden after a few hours – but parents still lick their young to bond with them.
In a prickle
Literally.
Did you know that a group of porcupines is called a “prickle”? But Indian crested porcupines usually forage alone, except for mothers with young.
Mostly nocturnal, they rest during the day in burrows they make themselves.

Protecting Porcupines

Living in harmony.

THE THREAT: Indian crested porcupines, like their American counterparts, are common, and not in danger as a species. In fact, in parts of Asia they are so numerous as to be considered pests, and are hunted as food.

TAKE ACTION: What native animals do we consider pests or a problem in the Northwest? Can we live in harmony with them? Read more on our sister zoo website, Northwest Trek.

Asian Forest Stories

Healing with Light

On a cold, wet November morning, veterinary technician Julie Lemon is lying on her stomach on a hard floor. Angling her head, she carefully positions a small metal wand between the hard, pointy toes of a tapir, who’s anesthetized and sleeping soundly in his den. Then she presses a button, and a stream of pink … Continued

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Cho Cho, the Oldest Siamang

How does it feel to be the oldest siamang – probably – in North America? Well, for Cho Cho, snuggled up with his companion Dudlee on a crisp fall morning at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, it seemed pretty cozy. This year Cho Cho is celebrating his 51st birthday – which makes him the oldest … Continued

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We’re expecting a baby tapir!

Endangered Malayan tapirs Yuna and Baku strolled around one of the Asian Forest Sanctuary exhibits on Wednesday afternoon, grazing on grasses – and keeping a secret. Not even the birds perched in the nearby trees would tweet the news. But we can let you in on this uber-exciting development today. Hooray! Hooray! A baby tapir … Continued

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Who's Nearby?
Spotted our porcupines? Then look for our gibbons! They’ll be swinging high in the ropes, rotating with the other animals around the Asian Forest Sanctuary habitats.