Alaska Zoo celebrates Groundhog Day with porcupines

Alaska Zoo celebrates groundhog's day with porcupines.
Alaska Zoo celebrates groundhog's day with porcupines.(Alaska's News Source)
Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 6:40 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Zoo doesn’t have a groundhog, but they do have Sasha and Mr. Pickles, a pair of porcupines.

Porcupines are members of the rodent family. They don’t hibernate, they survive the winter by loading up with fat. And with their thicker coats, they look a lot more cuddly in the colder months, according to zookeeper Sam Lavin.

“Under all that winter fur she’s got an awful lot of quills she’s got between 30 and 50 thousand quills somewhere in there,” says Lavin, of Sasha. “So she has them, she’s a real dangerous animal even though she doesn’t look like it at the moment. Winter porcupines are awful sweet looking.”

Mr. Pickles came to the zoo when he was orphaned at about a week old, he is now eight years old.

Sasha is a nine-year-old female originally from Montana.

“Sasha is a very good example of a very successful porcupine, She’s very big, she’s very pretty as you can see she’s very food driven and you can see her all winter long, so it’s a little different from a groundhog,” says Lavin. “If we had a groundhog here the chances of seeing it today would be pretty slim, it’s pretty cold.”

Lavin says neither of the porcupine pair here was looking for their shadow this morning when they got up, they were looking for breakfast.

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