Alerts

Please be advised the Conservation Carousel will be closed on Tuesday, June 28th, 2022.

Please be advised that our bird aviaries are open!  

Your Toronto Zoo is committed to the health and safety of the animals in our care. We take proactive steps to protect our birds from Avian Influenza which has been confirmed in a wild bird in southern Ontario, and some birds may still be off display.


Please note Splash Island is still closed and will not open until July 1st due to unforeseen delays in construction. Please watch for updates on https://www.torontozoo.com/tz/splash or on our social media pages. Thank you!


Please note the following animals are currently not on display due to various reasons including Avian Bird Flu, and Covid-19 sensitivity:

  • Flamingo, peacock, owl, and bald eagle
  • Some Kids Zoo Animals
  • Cougar
  • Moose
  • Kangaroo walk through (kangaroos are still visible)
  • Axolotl

We apologize for the inconvenience!

Prehensile-Tailed Porcupine
Prehensile-Tailed Porcupine
Mammal

Location at the Zoo:
Americas
Region: South America


Prehensile-tailed porcupine

The prehensile-tailed porcupine is covered in short, thick spines which are whitish or yellowish in color. These spines are intermixed with soft, darker hair. The underside is greyish. The lips and nose are fleshy. This porcupine can grow to 85 cm long, but half of that length consists of a spineless, prehensile (adapted to grasping or holding) tail. It can weigh up to 4.5 kg. The front and hind feet are well adapted for grasping branches. Each foot has four long-clawed toes.

Conservation Status: IUCN




Distribution:

This species is found in the tropical forests from Brazil to Argentina, as well as eastern areas of Bolivia and on the island of Trinidad.

Habitat:

These porcupines are almost entirely arboreal (tree-dwelling) and nocturnal. They rest in the hollows of trees and shaded areas of the canopy during the day and forage at night.

Diet:

They feed on leaves, shoots, fruits, flowers, bark, and buds. They often will eat plantation crops, thus becoming undesirable pests to humans.

Reproduction:

There is no breeding season. Gestation lasts about 200 days. As a rule the female gives birth to a single young. A newborn porcupine is covered with red hair and small spines which harden shortly after birth. The baby will weigh about 400 grams at birth, and it can climb almost immediately. Weaning occurs after 10 weeks, and adult size is reached in less than a year. Sexual maturity (for females) is reached in 19 months. Females will mate again soon after giving birth.

Adaptation:

When excited or threatened, this porcupine will stamp its hind feet in an attempt to frighten their potential attackers. The body covering of short, thick spines is its most effective defence. If cornered, it will roll itself up, becoming a spine covered ball. If all these tactics fail, this normally shy and passive animal is capable using claws and teeth to defend itself.

Threats to Survival:

The main threat to these animals is the destruction of their rainforest habitats. As well, they are a food source for humans.