The Smithsonian's National Zoo recently welcomed the newest member of its zoological family: the North American Porcupine. Two adult porcupines named Quillby and Maude are now on exhibit adjacent to the prairie dog exhibit. Both porcupines came from a breeding facility in Pennsylvania and are estimated to be 10 years old. Porcupines reach sexual maturity at 2-3 years of age; therefore, it is possible that Quillby and Maude could breed and produce offspring.
The North American porcupine is one of the largest rodents found in North America, coming second to the North America beaver. Their fur ranges in color from brownish-yellow to black, and they sport white highlights in their quills. They weigh 20-30 pounds and are 2-3 feet in length. North American porcupines are native to the coniferous and mixed-forest habitats of Canada, the northeastern and western regions of the United States and northern Mexico.
Photo credit: Janice Sveda, Smithsonian's National Zoo