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Nashville Zoo announces birth of Three Porcupines


Nashville ZooNashville, TN – The Nashville Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of three cape porcupines! These baby porcupines, also known as porcupettes, were born on June 27, 2021. The porcupettes had their neonatal exam conducted by our Veternarian staff on July 1st, 2021 and are all healthy. Sex has yet to be determined and they all weighed in under a pound.

After staying with their parents for a few weeks, the porcupettes will be hand-reared in order to better acclimate them to people. At that time, they will begin training to become ambassador animals to educate the public about their species. Nashville Zoo hopes to someday highlight them in unique educational experiences.

Nashville Zoo Porcupettes. (Kate Johns)

Nashville Zoo Porcupettes. (Kate Johns)

This is Mkali’s (the mother) second litter since being at Nashville Zoo.

In the spring of 2020, Mkali had a litter of two on her first birthday. Nashville Zoo currently has five porcupines of this species.

The cape porcupine’s typical breeding season occurs from September through December, averaging two to four porcupettes per litter.

To our pleasant surprise, Mkali had these babies 14 days after her last suspected birthing window and well after the expected breeding season.

“She gave birth to the first porcupette while on exhibit Sunday morning. Then we brought her back inside to a more temperature and light-controlled location where she had two more,” said Lead Keeper for Contact Area, Nate Morris.

Cape porcupines (Hystrix africaeaustralis) are not an endangered species and are native to Central and Southern Africa. Nashville Zoo participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) to ensure genetically diverse porcupines amongst captive populations. Stay tuned for updates on these porcupettes at

About Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo is a nonprofit organization and an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, assuring the highest standards of animal care and husbandry. The Zoo is actively engaged in conservation research, habitat protection, breeding programs, and education initiatives around the globe as well as in our own backyard.

With support from the Nashville community, donors, and sponsors including our Experience Partners: Coca-Cola Consolidated and Middle Tennessee Honda Dealers, the Zoo is a top Nashville attraction and is consistently voted one of the best places to visit by TripAdvisor, Yelp, and a host of local and national review sites. Nashville Zoo is located at 3777 Nolensville Pike.

For more information about Nashville Zoo, visit


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