Our newest resident is looking sharp! Shelley is a nine-month-old Brazilian porcupine who came to us from a private, accredited facility in central Florida. She is the first member of her species housed at the Zoo in over a decade—faithful visitors may recall seeing Brazilian porcupines Patrick, Fluffy, Captain and Eddie in La Selva between 1999 and 2009.
Shelley lives behind the scenes and is working with our animal ambassador keepers to be featured in virtual and in-person education programs. Brazilian porcupines are known for their gregarious personalities, so this should be very rewarding for Shelley.
Even though you can’t see Shelley in person right now, you may be able to smell her! Brazilian porcupines secrete a pungent, oily substance that keepers humorously describe as “a mix between onions and body odor.”
Porcupine quills are modified hairs. Contrary to popular belief, porcupines cannot “shoot” their quills, but they won’t hesitate to back into a would-be predator if threatened.
Brazilian porcupines are native to forests and grasslands across much of South America, where they feed on fruit, leaves and tree bark. They are typically solitary animals.