From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Dr. Mark Penning
Although Walt Disney World Resort is temporarily closed, our animal care team is continuing to provide top-notch care to thousands of animals, including the newest addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a baby prehensile-tailed porcupine.
The baby, known as a porcupette, was born to mom, Peri, on Feb. 25. If you’ve seen the One Day at Disney documentary on Disney+, you may remember seeing Peri participate in an ultrasound with Disney veterinarian Dr. Natalie. And after a long-awaited arrival, the team is delighted to welcome this cutie to the Disney family. Here’s a closer look:
Cast members like Walt Disney World Veterinarian Dr. Natalie provide continual care for Peri – from annual exams, to pregnancy check-ups, the birth of her porcupette, and of course, post-partum care.
Porcupettes are covered in a fine red fur coat, but they’re also born with their tiny quills underneath, which begin to harden hours after birth. Those quills are actually what helped the team determine the baby’s gender. And guess what? It’s a girl!
Coming to this conclusion required science and more than just a neonatal exam from the veterinary team. Prehensile-tailed porcupines have internal sex organs, so to determine the baby’s gender, the team actually had to send some of her tiny quills off to a lab for DNA testing.
As with all of our animals, there are plenty of big hearts caring for this little mother-daughter duo. Peri continues to thrive in her role as a mother, which is part of why she was chosen to breed through the Species Survival Plan (SSP). This program is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and ensures responsible breeding and genetic diversity of thousands of species of animals.
With so many families at home together right now, we look forward to sharing more stories and insights about our animals and amazing cast who are caring for them. If you don’t already do so, please follow my Instagram @DrMarkAtDisney, where we’ll share #BetterTogether learning opportunities soon.