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It's a girl! Disney welcomes new porcupine, names her after Cast Member

She looks cute enough to cuddle -- that is before the quills harden

Photo: Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World welcomed its newest addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a baby prehensile-tailed porcupine.

The baby, known as a porcupette, was born to mom, Peri, on Feb. 25 at the Conservation Station before the parks were forced to close due to growing concerns over the coronavirus.

"Porcupettes are covered in a fine red fur coat, but they’re also born with their tiny quills underneath, which begin to harden hours after birth," Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks said. "Those quills are actually what helped the team determine the baby’s gender."

Determining the gender of a porcupine is nothing simple. Doctors can't look underneath and see an obvious sign like other animals.

"Prehensile-tailed porcupines have internal sex organs, so to determine the baby’s gender, the team actually had to send some of her tiny quills off to a lab for DNA testing," Dr. Penning added.

Peri continues to take her motherly role seriously, which is why she was chosen to welcome the new baby. According to Disney officials, Peri is part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP).

SSP is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and ensures responsible breeding and genetic diversity of thousands of species of animals, officials said.

Two months after the baby was born, Disney announced her name.

Well, we all know Disney would choose a name with a great story. And the story is heartwarming and just what we need right now.

The porcupette was named in honor of Veterinary Operations Manager Shelley, who played an important role in the baby’s birth.

Baby Shelley weighs over two pounds and is starting to look just like her mom.

"It’s through the work of dedicated cast members, like Shelley, that our animal care team is able to make tremendous strides every day providing excellent care for all creatures large and small," Dr. Penning said.

All images/video used are property of Walt Disney World


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