Other Mammals - Sounds Wild
Baby Porcupines


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Baby porcupines

In the lush greenery of an Alaska forest in spring, a mother porcupine is nursing her baby. The baby porcupine, called a porcupette, is just about a foot long and weighs a little more than a pound. He was born last week, and he's fully capable of following his mother around the forest as she forages on the lush green vegetation. He's able to eat a little as well. It'll be a few weeks before he'll be able to climb trees, and he'll continue nursing through the summer.

Porcupines have an extremely long pregnancy, about seven months. The gestation period is extremely long for a rodent, twice the time for a beaver, the largest rodent in Alaska. Porcupine moms give birth to just a single baby a year. Its eyes are open and its body covered with long grayish-black hairs and quills. The quills are not a problem for the mother at birth as the porcupette is encased in a little sack called a caul. Within a matter of hours the quills dry and serve as protection.

During the summer the young stay close to their mothers, learning about the den sites and food trees in the mother's home range. Toward the end of summer they start to spend more time apart. By October, when the female mates again, the young are fully weaned and wander off to face the winter alone.