Shedd Aquarium's 5-Year-Old Porcupine Receives Wellness Check-Up, Ready To Keep Exploring Animal Exhibits

WBBM Newsradio Staff
March 21, 2020 - 1:47 pm

(Shedd Aquarium)


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Tyson has no plans to stop exploring the Shedd Aquarium and meeting his fellow animal friends. 

The 5-year-old prehensile-tailed porcupine had a “field trip” to the penguin habitat. A few days later, his caretakers took him to see our veterinary staff for his regular health check-up. Animal care staff took extra precautions since the patient is covered in needle-sharp quills.

He received a clean bill of health from the aquarium’s veterinarian team at the onsite hospital, A. Watson Armour III Center for Aquatic Animal Health and Welfare.

During Tyson’s routine physical exam, Shedd’s veterinary staff gave him a full workup from head to toe. Experts documented his length and weight, checked his eyes, collected and tested a blood sample, and performed dental cleaning and trimming. For safety and comfort, he was anesthetized or sedated throughout the examination, the aquarium said. 

“A regular check-up like this one is just part of the holistic preventative care we provide for the animals here at Shedd,” said Dr. Bill Van Bonn, Vice President for Animal Health at Shedd Aquarium. “Tyson’s exam wasn’t all that different than an average annual check-up that you or I would get from our healthcare professionals, and it helps us collect baseline data that continues to inform best health and welfare practices.”

Tyson gets a wellness checkup from the vets at the Shedd. (Shedd Aquarium)

With his clean bill of health following the exam, the porcupine returned to his habitat behind-the-scenes, where he participates in daily training sessions with animal care staff.

The prehensile-tailed porcupine is covered in quills ranging in color from black and white to yellow. They are native to Central and South America and as a nocturnal animal are found sleeping during the day in the tree hallows or branches or scavenging at night, though his routine was a bit disrupted this week, as he explored the aquarium.

RELATED: Penguins Take Field Trip Around Shedd Aquarium

While we sit at home and wait out the coronavirus pandemic, animals at the Shedd are exploring the aquarium for the first time and letting loose. On Saturday, penguins took to the Wild Reef exhibit and said hello to some new friends. And last week, the penguins visited the Amazon exhibit, which rejoiced many people on social media as the world quickly changes.