As usual with porcupines, not only mother Otavi takes care of Wakili, but also father Kymani. Currently, Wakili still spends a lot of time in the protected underground passages, but can increasingly be observed with the other animals on the surface, the zoo announced on Wednesday.
The little porcupine was also born in these subterranean caves and passages, which are built by the adult animals themselves. This is where the nocturnal animals spend most of their time. But if the right food lures them, they are happy to leave their burrow during the day and show themselves to visitors.
With their short legs, porcupines are not good sprinters. Their main defensive weapon is therefore their spikes. Just like nails or hair, these consist of keratin. The animals use the large, thick spines primarily to ward off predators, while the smaller, thinner spines probably also serve as tactile aids, according to the zoo.
If a potential enemy approaches, the animal raises its spikes and adopts a threatening posture. If the opponent is not impressed, the porcupine will start rattling its quills and stamping its hind legs. In extreme cases, it will also attack by running backwards or sideways towards the enemy. The spikes break off easily on contact and can cause painful injuries and infections to the opponent.
What is quite useful when defending against enemies proves to be more of a hindrance during the sexual act – especially when the female defends himself against the male, as the message says. If mating is successful, the female gives birth to one to four young.
Although they are called porcupines, they are rodents. In Africa they are the largest rodents, in Europe only the beaver is larger. The animals are native to large parts of the northern hemisphere, but only the common porcupine lives in Europe, in Italy. However, it is assumed that they are not native there, but were brought to Italy by the Romans in ancient times.