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The porcupines at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park have now got antlers – thanks to the National Trust.

The Trust has donated a bag of antlers for the Zoo’s crested porcupines to chew on. Senior Head Keeper of Mammals Matthew Webb explained: “Porcupines love to gnaw on antlers – they are natural, they provide environmental enrichment – and they are also good for their teeth!

“We don’t often get the chance to give antlers to our porcupines as they are in short supply, so we are very grateful for any donations we receive.”

Environmental enrichment is what zoos do to keep animals stimulated mentally and physically and to encourage natural behaviours. It can include novel smells, sounds or objects, puzzle feeders or food that the animals have to work at to reach – as they would in the wild.

Crested porcupines, which come from Africa, have very strong teeth and jaws. Porcupines are rodents with sharp spines up to 30 centimetres long. The hollow quills on the tail can be rattled as a warning.

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