Zoo Snapshot: Prehensile-tailed Porcupine

This is a picture of a Prehensile-tailed porcupine.

Prehensile-tailed Porcupine

Coendou prehensilis

Least Concern, stable population in the wild.

Body length: head to tail: 2-3 feet.

Habitat: Tropical forests of Central America and northern South America.

At the El Paso Zoo: Inside the South American Pavilion

This is a picture of a prehensile-tailed porcupine with a close up of its big pink nose.

Currently we have pair of 8-year-old porcupines named Flower and Vito.  In the wild they are rarely seen because they are nocturnal.  They eat mostly fruit, immature seeds and sometimes bark.  Their feeding habits help to spread seeds through the ecosystem as they travel from tree to tree.  As their name implies they have a prehensile tail that can grasp onto to tree branches as they climb about.  Like other species of porcupine their spines help to protect them from predators.  When on the ground a threated prehensile-tailed porcupine will roll up into a ball.   Known predators include humans, feral dogs and kissing bugs that will feed on their blood. Other predators may include jaguars and smaller members of the wild cat family.

Cover – Smithsonian Zoo, Wikimedia Creative Commons
All others – Rick LoBello

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