Pair of Prickly Porcupines Pass Monkeys and Flamingos on Daily Walks Around the Zoo

Playing Porcupines Take Early Morning Walks to Stay Sharp

Porcupines at the Oregon Zoo are staying active by taking morning walks on the grounds with a zookeeper before the facility opens to the public.

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Sharpie and Nolina, two African crested porcupines, could be seen waddling through the paved roads — normally open only to human visitors — under the guidance of zookeeper Kristina Smith in a video posted to the zoo’s Facebook page.

The pass crocodiles, geckos, monkeys and flamingos on their walks.

Smith, who has cared for the pair for the last seven years, explained their weekly walks help them get exercise and makes their days more interesting.

“It gets them out and moving, gives them new things to see and smell,” she explained.

The species, which can grow up to 30 inches long and weigh more than 40 pounds, are the largest porcupines in the world.

The black and white quills on Sharpie and Nolina’s neck and back can grow to more than a foot long.

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While porcupines are known to raise and fan out their quills when they are spooked or excited, Sharpie and Nolina have been mellow since arriving to the zoo.

"In the wild, they have been known to fend off an entire pride of lions,” Smith said. “Thankfully, no one here has been stuck."

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