You could call them a prickly customer or, more to the point, a porcupette! Monarto Safari Park has had a spike in the number of porcupines in their prickle thanks to the birth of a Cape Porcupine named Louie.
Little Louie, who is two-months-old, was born in late January to mum Rita and dad Oliver. The porcupette will be sexed at their six-month health check (as it’s difficult to sex them visually).
“Since the day Louie arrived they’ve been full of attitude, just like their mum,” said keeper Gemma Asser. “They stomp their feet and rattle their tail to make sure us keepers and Oliver know who’s boss.
“Louie also enjoys zoomies in the den with Mum and Dad needing to get out of the way but, not for too long… Louie is extremely attached to Dad and follows him everywhere.
“While dad Oliver is a laid-back character with sleek quills, mum, Rita, is ‘large and in charge’. She also stomps her feet and rushes to take part in her training.
“But while their personalities differ there is one thing that definitely bonds the family and that,” finished Gemma, “is their love of sweet potato!”
Fortunately for Rita, when Cape Porcupines are born their quills are soft and harden as they age. The not so little Cape Porcupine is the largest rodent in Africa and the largest porcupine in the world. This particular porcupine is found across Africa although some areas have few or no Cape Porcupines left due to hunting.
Porcupine fans are encouraged to visit the Cape Porcupine habitat at Monarto Safari Park at the start of the day, for a chance to see these nocturnal creatures.
“Because they have spent all night up and about, they can be quite elusive and asleep during the day. But, each morning myself and other keepers offer the prickle a scatter feed of their favourite things (including sweet potato) for breakfast, or a target training session, where Rita can show off how smart (and how bossy) she is!
“So, the best time to see if Rita, Oliver and little Louie would be to come out for a morning stroll around 10ish when the first bus arrives at The Outpost,” said Gemma.
Monarto Safari Park is open 365 days a year, except at times of catastrophic fire risk. A number of experiences such as Land of the Lemurs, Lions 360 and Meerkat Mingle add to a fun and educational day out.
What’s that noise? The wild is calling… www.monartosafari.com.au.