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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

A Tapir Ultrasound

Zoological Aide Katie Schachtsick holds a long-handled back-scratcher and applies just the right amount of pressure as she rubs it across the black-and-white hide of endangered Malayan tapir Yuna. It’s clear Yuna enjoys the attention – and the back rub – leaning into the scratcher and then moving her stout legs down, getting into a … Continued

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AI for endangered tigers

Cross your paws. And think of tiger cubs! Our endangered female Sumatran tigers, 5-year-old Kali and 4-year-old Kirana, could be pregnant. Both were artificially inseminated Jan. 30 with sperm from 14-year-old Mohan. We won’t know for a few weeks if a pregnancy resulted, but if successful, tiger cubs would be born in May. But it … Continued

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5 Animals that Beat the Cold

We’re all feeling the cold right about now in the Pacific Northwest – and the rest of the country too. But here at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, our animals have some pretty cool ways to deal with it. From fur coats to heated hammocks, here are five ways our animals beat the winter cold. … 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.