Prague Zoo opens new enclosure for Indian crested porcupines

From today, visitors to the zoo will be able to see the porcupines for the first time in two years with the unveiling of their new enclosure. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 25.05.2024 14:18:00 (updated on 25.05.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Visitors to Prague Zoo can now enjoy the sight of Indian crested porcupines in a newly-opened area located between the predator pavilion and the giant tortoise enclosure. This new space houses five female porcupines and two juveniles. The enclosure was unveiled to local media today by Zoo Director Miroslav Bobek.

The public is now able to see these rodent relatives for the first time in two years, as their original enclosure was converted into an aviary that opened to the public last year, causing the porcupines to be housed in a non-public area of the zoo.

According to mammal keeper Pavel Brandl, an adult male porcupine will soon join the group. He expects new offspring later this year, as the porcupines thrive in the zoo environment and breed easily.

"It is far more spacious and varied, with improved indoor areas. The conditions are much better for the animals," Bobek told journalists while presenting the new enclosure today. "It should also be better for visitors, as the animals now have an elevated feeding area, making them more visible."

Previously, the porcupines were housed near the Sichuan Pavilion, which was not an ideal environment for them. This area was transformed into an aviary, prompting the zoo to create a new and more suitable exhibit for the porcupines.

"We were reluctant to lose the porcupines, so we decided to build a new exhibit for them," Bobek explained. The construction of the new exhibit cost approximately CZK 5 million, funded by leftover resources from the Sichuan Pavilion project.

The Indian crested porcupine is characterized by its large head with a blunt snout and a body covered with long quills and spines used for defense against predators. Despite common misconceptions, these shy animals cannot shoot their quills.

Their diet is primarily plant-based, but they often consume animal bones in the wild to obtain the minerals and trace elements needed for their quill development. Prague Zoo also provides them with animal bones, Brandl noted.

Prague Zoo has been home to Indian crested porcupines since 1942, although records from that time are incomplete. The most famous porcupine in the zoo's history was a male named Ferdinand, who was born at the zoo in August 1981 and lived until May 2012, reaching nearly 31 years of age.

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