CHICAGO -- The Brookfield Zoo announced Tuesday the birth of a baby porcupine.
The baby prehensile-tailed porcupine, born July 2, is the first of its kind to be born at Brookfield Zoo. He does not yet have a name.
Baby porcupines, or "porcupettes," are born after a 203-day gestation period. Weighing just under a pound, porcupettes are born with soft quills to prevent injury to mom during the birthing process. The baby's quills will harden and sharpen with keratin after a few days.
The porcupette is being handreared by zoo staff because his mother was not allowing him to nurse. Staff said he is "thriving."
Both of the porcupine's parents, 5-year-old Lucia and 4-year-old Eddie, are members of Brookfield Zoo's Animal Ambassador Program and can be seen in Hamill Family Play Zoo. Once the young porcupine is old enough he will also be part of this program, which allows visitors to get up close with some of the animals.