Belfast Zoo has welcomed some prickly new arrivals in the form of eleven Cape porcupines
Eleven Cape porcupines arrived on 9 June 2017 and can now be seen in their new home.
Zoo manager, Alyn Cairns, said “Our new prickle of porcupines previously lived at a
zoo in Spain which recently closed.
"They had been moved to a quarantine facility in Belgium but we were keen to help by providing a new home for the group. All eleven
porcupines arrived in June and have since settled in well. Keepers are getting to
know the group and are already seeing distinct personalities. Once the team get to
know all of the porcupines, they will be able to pick fitting names for the latest
members of the zoo family."
A group of porcupines is called a ‘prickle’.
Cape porcupines are the largest rodents in Africa and are also the world’s largest porcupines. They are found across
southern and central Africa, southern Kenya, Uganda and the Congo.
The Cape porcupine has a crest of long, bristly hairs which run from the top of the
head to the shoulders.
The back and sides of the animal are covered in long quills.
The most common myth is that porcupines shoot their quills. Instead the porcupine
raises the quills and makes a warning ‘rattle’.
If their threatening posture is ignored, the porcupine will run sideways or charge backwards into the predator.