What has 24 legs, quills, a stinger and lots of hair?
There are a pair of prickly new sensations at the B.C. Wildlife Park and they have nothing to do with the foliage growing around the east Kamloops attraction.
The sticky sensation this summer is a duo of spiky guests — Philly and Padma, two Indian-crested porcupines.
The two porcupines, which arrived at the park during spring break, are on loan from the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove and will be spending their summer under the hot sun of the Tournament Capital.
“That’s really good for Kamloops because people don’t get a chance to see those kinds of animals,” said David Edwards, the B.C. Wildlife Park’s manager of education, special events and media.
“It’s very, very exciting.”
The two seven year-old omnivores, which can be found in parts of Asia and the Middle East, differ from their North American counterparts in that they have giant quills they use for protection against larger animals, such as tigers and leopards.
Last year, the park’s guest animal was a South African dwarf crocodile.
But Philly and Padma aren’t the only new additions to the park.
The facility has welcomed three new creepier critters to its roster — a pair of tarantulas and an emperor scorpion.
All three will be permanent residents of the park.
Edwards said the idea is to bring in new creatures to make the park as entertaining and educational as possible.
“We try to bring in things that are different, that kids can get close to,” he said.
The plan for the tarantulas and scorpion is to make them part of a larger insect-education program.
They will be showcased in Plexiglass boxes that kids can hold.
The park already has educational programs for myriad animals, including salmon, raptors and reptiles.
All of the park’s new and more familiar friends will ready for the public on April 2, the park’s spring kickoff and Nature Fair.
In 2010, more than 80,000 people walked through the doors of the BC Wildlife Park.
For more information on the park, go online here.