ANIMAL: Brazilian Prehensile-Tailed Porcupine Coendou prehensilis Type of Animal: New World Porcupine Habitat: Forests, humid mountainous highlands as high as 4,921.26 ft, tropical grasslands, croplands, tropical savanna, woodlands Location(s): E Colombia, Venezuela, Guiana Shield, most of Brazil except for SE, N & E Bolivia, SE Peru, N Paraguay, extreme NC Argentina, Trinidad Appearance: Gets name from prehensile tail, fleshy pink nose/lips, gray body, whitish quills/spines, large curved claws, porcupettes born w/ reddish-brown eventually darkening, sometimes have yellow-orange rust hue, no quills/spines on tail Food/Diet: Leaves, flowers, shoots, roots, cambium layer beneath bark, nuts, vegetables, fruit, crops, small fresh twigs, bark, stems, blossoms, seeds, grains, tubers, wood, buds, greens Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in zoos, aquariums, & wildlife centers Lifestyle: Solitary or male-female pairs Additional Info: Called: Male: Boar Female: Sow Young: Porcupette Group: Pair Weight: Male: 10 lbs Female: 11 lbs Young: 5 lbs Gestation: 6-7 months Life Span: 12 years in wild, 17-20 years in captivity Height: Adult: 1.64-1.96 ft Young: 1.31 ft Body Length: Adult: 1.64-1.96 ft Young: 1.31 ft Tail Length: 1.08-1.59 ft Main predators are dogs, large constrictors, large raptors, crocodilians, & jaguars. Active at night (nocturnal). Highly arboreal, spending more than 85% of time in trees. Have excellent senses of touch, smell, & hearing. Breeds year-round & females can breed again a few days after giving birth. Sexually mature at a year old. Can move & climb soon after birth. Sometimes persecuted as crop pests & hunted for meat. Play important role as seed dispersers. Fun Fact(s): Porcupine Latin for “spiny pig” even though not closely related to pigs. Known to be quite docile & tame in captivity. Can be reservoirs for parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease in humans. Porcupines themselves not infectious. During courtship, males will urinate on females to bring them into heat. Males also sometimes urinate on females when she gives birth as well as newborn porcupette to mark them. Often have very musky odor They don’t shoot quills-rather quills drop very easily from skin. To defend themselves, they’ll ball up or charge backward to embed quills in predator’s skin. Another defense mechanism is to curl itself into ball.