PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — If you’re looking for a fitness influencer to takes notes from, Oregon Zoo’s spiky senior citizen Nolina stays fit with power walks.
Nolina’s fitness routine is “on point,” said the zoo, announcing the elderly animal’s 18th birthday for next week. The porcupine is known for her morning power walks, which have kept her looking sharp in her golden years.
“In the wild, African crested porcupines seldom live past the age of 15, and when Nolina reached that age a few years ago, caregivers began to see signs she was slowing down,” said the Oregon Zoo. “To help keep her healthy and active, zoo veterinary staff recommended a brisk daily walk.”
Nolina’s walks have grown shorter in recent times due to some joint issues, but caregivers say she still gets around, added the announcement. On trips through the zoo’s indoor rainforest area, she passes piranhas, tortoises, a slender-snouted crocodile and other animals along the way.
“It’s great exercise for Nolina,” Oregon Zoo Keeper Virginia Grimley said. “Plus, it gives her a chance to experience new things.”
Care staff say they use target training and food rewards for motivation, such as apples and sweet potatoes, which are among Nolina’s favorite snacks.
African crested porcupines are the largest porcupine species in the world and among the largest rodents in the world, according to the zoo. They can grow up to 2.5 feet in length and weigh more than 40 pounds, and their black-and-white quills can be more than a foot long.
Contrary to popular belief, porcupines do not “shoot” their quills, but they will raise and fan them out as a defense if they are frightened or excited, Grimley said. Wild porcupines have been known to fend off an entire pride of lions.
Click here to see some highlights from Nolina’s walks over the years.