Percy the Porcupine puppet delighted guests when she made her San Diego Zoo debut, in celebration of Earth Day. She is a prehensile-tailed porcupine that is 17 feet high. Percy was first unveiled in Los Angeles last month, before making her way to San Diego. Her first-ever appearance at the San Diego Zoo created unique moments for guests of all ages, aimed at further igniting their passion for wildlife and inspiring new wildlife allies.
Born from the minds at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, the development of Percy started with the creation of a digital model of a prehensile-tailed porcupine. The puppet’s quills were hand-carved and individually attached to the body, and the eyelids were engineered to blink with a large rope pull mechanism, along with movement of the mouth and jaw. It took over 1,200 hours of labor to bring the puppet and her rainforest home to life.
Percy was inspired by Icana, a real-life prehensile-tailed porcupine at the San Diego Zoo. Icana can be found in her lush, two-story rainforest canopy habitat in the newly opened Wildlife Explorers Basecamp. Here, explorers come face-to-face with some of the most incredible species on Earth while experiencing the world from wildlife’s perspective — including traversing the treetops with squirrel monkeys, marveling at the artistry of orb weaver spiders and smelling the sweetness of a larger-than-life beehive.