Porcupine hits rare birthday milestone at Oregon Zoo

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Porcupine hits rare birthday milestone at Oregon Zoo

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Nolina the porcupine is ringing in her 20th birthday at the Oregon Zoo. It’s a rarity to see these animals live past 15. 

Per an Oregon Zoo press release, “In the wild, African cape porcupines seldom live past the age of 15, and when Nolina reached that age five years ago, caregivers saw signs that she was beginning to slow down.”

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Zoo veterinary staff recommended that Nolina take brisk daily walks to help keep her healthy and active.

Nolia and her regular handler, Kristina McMahon, take walks across the zoo grounds every morning to keep the porcupine “looking sharp.”

Two African cape porcupines, including the famous Nolina, walk on the lawn at the Oregon Zoo. (Oregon Zoo)

“Her walks are shorter now, and she’s not as quick as she used to be, but she still gets around pretty well,” McMahon said. “For her age, she’s doing amazing.”

Outside of her fitness regimen of morning walks, Nolina’s favorite treats include corn on the cob, apples, and sweet potatoes.

Nolina the Porcupine corn on the cob

Among apples and sweet potatoes, corn on the cob is Nolina’s favorite treat. (Oregon Zoo)

One of the world’s largest rodents, African cape porcupines can grow up to 40 pounds and up to 2½ feet in length.

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The animal’s quills or spines can grow up to a foot long. The quills or spines are not shot at predators, but instead, porcupines “raise and fan them out as a defense if they are frightened or excited.”

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