The Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero proudly announced new additions to its family. The zoo welcomed the birth of a female Prehensile-tail porcupine on April 9. In addition, a young female Crested Screamer recently joined the flock. A special note to Atascadero’s friends and neighbors in Paso Robles, a female Binturong, also known as a Bearcat, took up occupancy at the facility.

“The Zoo has exhibited Prehensile-tailed porcupines for more than 17 years now and we have had several births here in the past,” Zoo Director Alan Baker said.

Baby Porcupines

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. The unique animals use their tail for grasping and hanging. The nocturnal creatures are found in Central and South America where they spend their days sleeping in the rainforest canopy.

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.


Buttered Popcorn?

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 to Atascadero 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 reminds them buttered popcorn. With a lighthearted quip, the Zoo organization said it 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.

Located at Atascadero Lake Park on Highway 41/Morro Road, one mile west of Highway 101, the Charles Paddock Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The zoo is recognized by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association for maintaining high standards in animal care, conservation, education and operations. 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, please visit or call (805) 461-5080.

By News Staff