Paso Robles News|Wednesday, June 26, 2019
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New arrivals at the Charles Paddock Zoo, including a bearcat 

Baby Prehensile-tailed Porcupine atascadero zoo

Baby Prehensile-tailed Porcupine.

–The Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero recently announced the addition of a baby girl to the zoo family, with the arrival on April 9 of a new Prehensile-tailed Porcupine. In addition, a young female Crested Screamer recently joined the flock at the zoo; and of special note to Atascadero’s friends and neighbors in Paso Robles, a female Binturong, also known as a Bearcat, has now moved in too!

The upcoming Memorial Day weekend will be a great time to go for a visit and see the new residents, along with the recently opened Red Panda exhibit.

The newest porcupette joined the zoo family this spring and has been hanging out in the exhibit for the public to enjoy since her very first day. According to Zoo Director Alan Baker, “The zoo has exhibited prehensile-tailed porcupines for more than 17 years now and we have had several births here in the past. Baby porcupines are covered with fine, red colored hair when they are born but the quills start to develop in the first few days. Almost immediately after the baby porcupine is born, it can climb and move on its own. Prehensile-tailed porcupines use their tail for grasping and hanging. They are nocturnal and spend the days sleeping in the forest canopy and in the wild are found in Central and South America.”

Crested Screamers are well named, as their distinctive call is among the loudest of any bird. Crested screamers are non-migratory birds and remain all year in their breeding area. The new female Crested Screamer came to the Charles Paddock Zoo from Pinola Conservancy in Louisiana as part of a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). She’s eight months old and, after some time spent to adapt to her new surroundings, she has now bonded with a long-time zoo resident male Crested Screamer. Visitors may enjoy observing this romantic relationship blossom at the Flamingo Habitat, located near the zoo entrance and gift shop.

Binturongs, or bearcats, are neither bears nor cats. These Southeast Asian mammals are actually related to small forest predators like fossas. Bee, a young female Binturong, came here from the Virginia Zoological Park as another breeding recommendation from the AZA and has joined the Zoo’s male Binturong, named Johnson. Although extremely shy and reclusive, these animals have a very characteristic smell which many people say smells like hot buttered popcorn, so even if you can’t see them, you will definitely know you are approaching their habitat! The zoo is very happy to extend an open invitation to all local Paso Bearcats to come for a visit soon, to look for the real-life inspiration for their team mascot.

The Charles Paddock Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and is located at Atascadero Lake Park on Highway 41/Morro Road, one mile west of Highway 101. Over 200 animals call the Charles Paddock Zoo home, including red pandas, monkeys, meerkats, parrots, a Malayan Tiger, a variety of reptiles and more. For more information about the zoo, visit www.charlespaddockzoo.org or call (805) 461-5080.

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.