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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 unscheduled talks daily. Ask questions about each animal, and find out how our zoo team feeds and cares for them.
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

Meet Indah!

Endangered Sumatran tiger Indah will make her public debut at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium on Friday, April 2, at noon. It’s a homecoming for the female tiger, one of three cubs born at the Tacoma zoo over six years ago. “It’s heartwarming to welcome her home to Tacoma and see her all grown up,” … Continued

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Lar Gibbon Brothers Arrive at Zoo

“Whoop, Whoooooop, Whoop-whoop!” There’s a new set of sounds heard throughout Point Defiance Park, coming from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. It’s the sound of two young lar gibbons singing loudly in unison. Also known as white-handed gibbons, they are an endangered primate in the gibbon family with around 15,000 currently living in the wild. … Continued

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Elephant Yoga and Apple Slices

Shannon Smith stands outside on a fall day, calling out encouragement. “Foot!” she requests. Across the yard, her “buddy” of 24 years slowly lifts a leg, then puts it back down. “Good!” exclaims Smith, and offers an apple slice. It’s exercise time at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and Smith is leading Suki the elderly … Continued

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