Prehensile-tailed Porcupine

Prehensile-tailed Porcupine


Southern Panama, Andes from northwestern Colombia to northern Argentina.


Forest areas, low-lying jungles.


Heavy-bodied animal with well-developed claws and unfurred soles on their large feet. The soles consist of pads and creases which increase the supporting surface and the gripping power of the feet. Long spineless tails are used for grasping. Their tips form upward curls and have a hard skin on the upper surface. The tail contributes 9 percent of the total body weight.

Prehensile-tailed Porcupine

The prehensile-tailed porcupine is a tree-dwelling animal. It rarely descends to the ground and only does so to feed or move to another tree. Because it is exclusively arboreal, it is very clumsy when forced to move about on the ground, walking slowly and awkwardly. They produce a variety of sounds & moans, whines, grunts, coughs, sniffs, shrieks, barks, and wails.


The gestation period averages 210 days, and usually 1 young is produced (rarely twins). The weight of the newborn is about 14 ounces. Porcupine young are born with their eyes open and are able to walk. They are able to climb trees within a few days and will grow for 3 or 4 years before they reach adult size.

Prehensile-tailed Porcupine
Prehensile-tailed Porcupine
Class: mammals
Genus: Coendou
Species: prehensilis
Length: Body: 16 in. Tail: 14-16 in.
Weight: 10-11 lbs.
Average Lifespan: 8.5
Wild Diet: Tree bark, leaves, fruit, roots, stems, berries, seeds, tubers, insects, and even small reptiles at times
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building: Temperate Zone

Learn more about mammals or animals from South America!
Or, cross-reference the two!