Monday, May 23, 2022

Meet Chompers, the Virginia Zoo’s baby porcupine

Photo courtesy

NORFOLK—The Virginia Zoo has added a new animal to its list of residents, and while he has a rough and prickly exterior he’s just looking for some love and affection.

The Zoo welcomed its first and only African Crested Porcupine and has been caring for him since he was born in April, after veterinarians and staff noticed his parents were not caring for him, according to a video posted Saturday on the City of Norfolk’s Facebook.

Dr. Colleen Clabbers, the zoo’s veterinarian, and other zoo staff have been hand raising the two-month-old porcupine, checking on him twice a day and providing regular weigh-ins and feedings, the video said.

Zoo staffers named the porcupine Chompers because of his insatiable appetite and his tendency to nibble on anything.

The African crested porcupine is the largest porcupine in the world and is typically located in hilly, rocky habitats in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and Italy, according to reports from the Oregon Zoo. As a member of the rodent family, the particular species of porcupine can grow to be anywhere between 24 to 36 inches long and weigh as much as 66 pounds full grown.

At his last weigh-in, according to the video, Chompers was a little over seven pounds. Once he is big enough, he will no longer be in the care of Dr. Clabbers and her staff and will go on to be an ambassador for the Virginia Zoo’s educational program.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story included video the city used without attributing the source, which was a television station.

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