The Zoo is welcoming a prickly new friend with open arms! North American porcupine Spike is settling in as his keepers ready him to meet his potential mate, Needles, in a PopCulture.com exclusive sneak peek of Saturday's all-new episode of the Animal Planet show, even enjoying a special little treat.
Matt Treppiedi, a keeper at the Prospect Park Zoo, explains in the preview that he will be preparing a special enrichment project for the zoo's newcomer, a cardboard box filled with a seriously delicious porcupine snack. "He loves different types of greens," Treppiedi explains. "He hasn't had chicory in a while, so..."
Giving Spike something he can manipulate with his claws, which help him climb in the wild, is an important part of stimulating his wild porcupine instincts, and what the cardboard box treat will hopefully accomplish. "We'll perch it up really high for him, that way he has something to work for in his enclosure," Treppiedi says of Spike's temporary quarantine habitat. "We love to give him as much enrichment as possible."
Making sure Spike is comfortable with his caretakers is another important step when it comes to setting up the porcupine for success in his new home. "Spike and I are kinda just getting to know each other," Treppiedi says, sitting beside the munching critter. "The first two weeks I worked with him, I kind of just worked on letting him feel me out, smell me, kind of pick up on different sensory cues for him to feel more comfortable around me before I would enter his enclosure like this. We want him to be as comfortable as possible."
Things look promising for Spike, who Treppiedi says appears to "really be interested" in exploring his enclosure, "checking different things, moving the bales of hay around, gnawing on some of the perching, 'cause that's what they do, as rodents, with those big teeth." Preparing to go on exhibit, the keepers hope that Spike will be able to thrive with Needles in the trail section of the zoo, hopefully making "lots of offspring." But for now, Spike seems happy as a clam with a face full of lettuce.
Will Spike be able to form the perfect porcupine family with Needles? The Zoo airs Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET only on Animal Planet. For more cute and cuddly creatures from The Zoo's latest episodes, check out PopCulture's recent clips here.