There’s a new rodent in town over in the Milwaukee County Zoo’s Small Mammals building. A new prehensile-tailed porcupette — surprisingly, porcupines are actually rodents — was born July 30! His name is Guillermo, and he can be seen residing in the shared habitat with the armadillos.
Guillermo was born in the habitat to mom Quinn and dad Seamus, weighing only 476 grams. After one short month, he already weighs 1300 grams. The animal care team describes him as a very calm, “chill little guy.”
After his birth, Guillermo began walking immediately, and Seamus and the armadillos were separated within the habitat for about two weeks so Quinn and Guillermo could bond. When they were reunited, Seamus initially sniffed him and then kept a respectful distance from the baby. Now that he’s comfortable with Guillermo, the prehensile-tailed porcupines are all sharing the habitat together, along with the armadillos, without issue.
The animal care team has already seen Guillermo use his prehensile tail, which is effective for grasping and hanging. When full-grown, his tail will be almost as long as his body, and half of the weight of his tail will be composed of muscle. Zookeepers share that Guillermo is very curious about anything new in his space and will quickly go up to it and manipulate the item, which looks like he’s “playing” with it. (The name “Guillermo” has Mexican and Spanish origin, meaning “strong-willed warrior.”)
Prehensile-tailed porcupines are arboreal animals, spending most of their time in the trees of South American forests. These porcupines are also nocturnal. They’re born with soft quills that grow daily and harden, hidden under their red fur. Guillermo’s quills have started to grow past the fur, so they’re now visible. He’s gaining weight consistently and will continue to nurse while also nibbling on fruit, vegetables, and greens.
Guillermo is the fourth offspring and the first male born to Quinn and Seamus, who are a breeding pair. The prehensile-tailed porcupine is part of a Species Survival Plan® (SSP) program at the Zoo, and Guillermo will likely be transferred to another approved facility later on.
Stop by the Small Mammals building to meet him!