“Teddy” the Porcupine is a Viral Video and TV Star
Dallas, Texas, USA, December 7, 2011 — Welcome to the unpredictable, rather insane, world of the Internet. Where else would a one-minute, handheld video clip of a porcupine eating his favorite snack, end up being watched by a million people across the globe and be aired on all three major US televison networks in just one week? "Teddy Bear," an 8-year old North American porcupine owned by Dallas-based Zooniversity, is now a viral video and TV star. Teddy’s first video was just named #1 "Best Animal Video of 2011" by The International Business Times.
The video, entitled "Teddy Bear, the porcupine, doesn’t like to share," went viral in late November 2011, when YouTube viewers shared the clip on dozens of other video sites. Within days the video topped half-a-million views. Why? Well, the corn-hungry porcupine is rather vocal about not wanting to share his corn and English-speaking viewers insist they heard him protesting in human words, saying "It’s my corn," "Stop that," and "Get Back" — or even some stronger explitives. Then, the video went global. German viewers say he is speaking German, Dutch viewers insist it’s Dutch, and now Russian viewers hear Russian words in his grunts and groans. Even more surprising, some folks feel that his human-like sounds are more than coincidental. The International Business Times (UK) writes "the video has gained soaring popularity among viewers with most agreeing that it is an example of animals borrowing the human language to communicate with us, and have labelled it as "clear intelligence"." Huh?
National TV shows quickly jumped to air the popular video. "Teddy Bear" has already been featured on THE TODAY SHOW (link pending), GOOD MORNING AMERICA, INSIDE EDITION, RIGHT THIS MINUTE and RED EYE (at 19:50). Numerous regional TV and radio stations across the U.S. have also broadcast the video, but it has surprisingly not yet hit the radar of local Dallas/Fort Worth media.
And, the Internet is continuing the buzz. Videos are popping up of people recording the reaction of their pet while watching Teddy’s video. And, some websites are featuring the video to illustrate their mission – several Christian sites are sharing it as "an example of God’s amazing creation," and a healthy eating site says that Teddy’s corn gluttony "is nothing more than a porcupine version of our human snacks laden with high-fructose corn syrup."
Zooniversity’s owner, Allison Blankenship, hand-raised Teddy since he was an ophaned baby and says "Teddy’s always been vocal…and a bit spoiled. But, the viral video came as a huge surprise. I never heard the human-like words when I posted it ." Teddy is a popular education animal at the Dallas-based wildlife education company. As one of their animal ambassadors, Teddy travels to schools, libraries and events throughout Texas and is known for his ewok-like chatter while he nibbles on a wedge of sweet potato during his part of the wildlife show. "He’ll usually mumble and moan into my microphone, while I teach audiences about his natural behaviors, " says Blankenship, "He always steals the show." Well, it looks like he stole it again!