Quilby is our Prehensile Tailed Porcupine. He was born at a private facility and made his way to Weisberg Stables on July 7, 2019.

More About Prehensile Tailed Porcupines

Porcupines are the 3rd largest rodent in the world behind  the capybara and the beaver.  A male porcupine is a ”boar” and a female is a “sow”.  Young Porcupines are referred to as Porcupi.

Quilby was born on March 31, 2019 and arrived at Weisberg Stables on July 7, 2019

Prehensile tailed porcupines have a compact body that is covered with short, thick spines mixed with short hairs.   The quills may lie flat or be erected if the porcupine is upset. Their head is small and their nose is round and bulbous and covered with short fine hair but no quills. The lips and nose are fleshy.

Porcupines weigh approximately 9 pounds and can grow between 24-40 inches long, including their tail.  Prehensile tailed Porcupines have a long  prehensile tail that curls upward to get a better grip on tree branches.  They use their tail as an extra hand to help them hold on to branches when climbing through the forest canopy. The last third of the tail is spineless, providing the animal with a better grip.

Porcupine feet are  well-adapted for gripping branches, with four long-clawed toes on each foot.

A typical lifespan is 14-17 years.

These porcupines are almost entirely arboreal (tree-dwelling) and nocturnal. They rest in the hollows of trees and shaded areas of the canopy during the day and forage at night. During the day they rest in tree hollows or on high branches or forks or shaded parts of the canopy, coming out at night to forage.

This shy animal rarely descends to the ground, but it shows little fear if it happens to be caught. It is not aggressive but will defend itself ferociously if attacked. When confronted, a porcupine may stomp its feet and shake its quills, which makes a rattling noise. Adults are slow-moving and will roll into a ball when threatened and on the ground. Contrary to popular belief, their barbed quills are not shot out at predators but instead release easily when the porcupine is tense or upset.

Many people are surprised to know that porcupines do have vocalizations that sound much like a young child or a rubber duck.  They generally make these sounds when they are happy and contented.

They are socially tolerant, particularly when food and mates are abundant, but they prefer small groups or solitary lifestyles.

Prehensile-tailed porcupines are monogamous. They display unusual courtship behaviors which include rubbing noses and dancing. The males spray females and the young to mark them during courtship and again when the young are born.  With no designated breeding season, Prehensile-tailed porcupines  can breed year round. The gestation period is about 200-203 days. Generally a single baby is born. Weighing less than a pound at birth, babies are born year-round with reddish hair and soft quills that harden in about a week. They are born with their eyes open and able to climb within a few hours of birth. The youngsters are weaned at 10 weeks and will reach sexual maturity in about 19 months.

Porcupines have a good sense of touch, smell and hearing.

Prehensile-tailed porcupines are herbivores that forage, mostly among trees.  In captivity their diet consists of: a variety of fruit and vegetables including yams, bananas, apples, carrots, parsnips, turnips, squash, carrots, sweet potato, spinach, kale,  yucca, herbivore pellets, Leafeater biscuits, corn on the cob, monkey chow, peanuts, and Sunflower seeds.

Although porcupines do not eat meat, they will chew on bones to sharpen their teeth.  This also gives them access to other important minerals, like sat and calcium, to keep them healthy.

Porcupines are not currently endangered, although habitat destruction affects them adversely. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies its status of least concern.

  • Porcupines cannot “throw” their quills. The quills detach when touched and provide the porcupine with a strong defense from predators.


  • Although they tend to move slowly, they are quite agile and can climb quickly when necessary.


  • Porcupines have a gland near the base of their tail which secretes hormones used to mark their territory. This contributes to their musky odor,
    strengthened by the fact that they rarely bathe or groom their quills.