With their long spikey quills and iconic mohawk style ‘do, it seems unlikely you’d ever miss spotting a Cape Porcupine. 

But these nocturnal critters can be quite elusive in daylight, and particularly in hot weather, are prone to hide away in their burrows all day to escape the sun. 

Perth Zoo is home to a prickle of four porcupines, and if you’re keen to catch a glimpse of these fascinating animals, Zoo Up Late is a great opportunity to see them in action. 

Supervisor Jenna Hollamby said: “Given the nocturnal nature of this species, it’s not unusual for our porcupines to hang out in their burrows during the day just like they would in the wild. 

“But the group does tend to venture out and explore in the late afternoon or around dusk, so the Zoo Up Late series is a great opportunity for visitors to see them.”

The family of four is comprised of female Noko, her mate Nzuri and their two sons Hasira and Jasiri. While it can be difficult for an untrained eye to tell them apart, visitors will notice Noko is the biggest of the four. 

As part of their daily enrichment program, keepers set up their exhibit at nighttime and hide delicious treats for the family to sniff out. This enrichment encourages the porcupines to use their natural behaviours and instincts to problem solve. 

“Nzuri often enjoys a sleep in and is often much more elusive to see, even for keepers, but Noko, Hasira and Jasiri will come out and investigate for their food,” Jenna said. 

“As omnivores, their favourite foods are corn, sweet potato and potato so keepers use these treats in training sessions.

“Porcupines also love to chew and nibble to keep their teeth sharp and healthy, so we provide our family with bones, logs, plants or whole root vegetables for them to gnaw into, and ice block treats if the weather is warm.

“Cape Porcupines are an incredibly special and unique animal, so I’d really encourage visitors to take advantage of the later opening hours for the chance to see them!”

Find our more about Cape Porcupines here