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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

Browsing the Bamboo

When you think ‘edible gardening,’ you usually don’t imagine growing banana trees for elephants. But Bryon Jones does. The lead horticulturalist at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has created an entire garden devoted to plants that zoo animals can munch, nibble or chew. It’s usually hidden from public view. But on this Sunday’s free garden … Continued

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Meet Kazu the tapir calf!

UPDATE: Kazu made his public debut Aug. 30. He and Yuna are now viewable in the Asian Forest Sanctuary late morning-early afternoon on weekends. Trotting over green grass. Figuring out stairs. Swimming. A brand-new, exciting world for Kazu the tapir calf is in store this weekend at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, as the seven-week-old … Continued

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Fixing a tiger tooth

If you’re an apex jungle predator, it’s pretty important to have strong teeth. So when Kirana, one of the four Sumatran tigers at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, needed some work on a fractured canine last week, she had a team of 12 veterinarians, veterinary dentists, technicians and keepers to take care of her. “Can … 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.