If you live in or are visiting the Dallas/Fort Worth area, you can actually meet Teddy Bear in person by reserving one of our Private Meet-n-Greets. Teddy fans from around the globe have made the trek to meet their favorite talkative “po’pine.” We’ll bring him to your location — you can feed him, talk to him, pet him and take a ton of photos and videos! Contact us today to make a reservation. Watch a video of a Teddy Bear Meet-n-Greet!
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Your Prickly Friend
Species: North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), found in all 48 contiguous U.S. states, as well as in Canada and Mexico.
Birthdate: May 4, 2003
Birthplace: Found as an abandoned newborn by a rancher in a barn in West Texas, cord and placenta still attached.
His early life: Teddy arrived at Zooniversity® with lots of medical problems (dehydration, peritonitis, anorexia, “failure to thrive,” you name it…) and required intensive human interaction, resulting in him being fully imprinted on humans.
Occupation: Animal ambassador for Zooniversity®, Dallas, Texas, USA, teaching people worldwide all about porcupines. YouTube videos are simply a sideline.
Why don’t you return him to the wild? Teddy is non-releasable, as he would most likely not survive on his own. He has no fear of humans, dogs or other wildlife and would actually approach them.
How’d Teddy get his start in the viral video world? It was all accidental. In May 2011, one of his keepers wanted to try-out a new video camera, so she recorded him eating an ear of corn and making noises and posted it on YouTube, “Teddy Bear the porcupine doesn’t like to share…” It sat unwatched for 6 months, until someone else found it and posted it on a viral site — it skyrocketed to more than 1 million views in a matter of days, with clips showing on all the major networks. It was a BIG surprise and the rest is viral history.
Why are Teddy’s videos so popular? People think his porcupine noises are his attempt at “talking” and they hear human words in his sounds, so viewers think he is speaking English, or Japanese, or Dutch – and teenagers around the world just thought he was saying naughty things.
Is he REALLY “talking”? That’s for you decide. All porcupines make some guteral noises when they’re happy or when they want to communicate something – Teddy is just more vocal than most. And, we agree, a lot of Teddy’s mumblings sound remarkably like human words.
Does he eat a lot of corn or pumpkin? No, these are not part of his daily diet, only for videos, appearances or special occasions. In the wild they eat leaves and bark. At Zooniversity®, he eats his natural foods, as well as a balanced zoological diet.
Why are his teeth red? They’re supposed to be red! Wood-chewing rodents have a hard outer tooth enamel that is rich in red-colored iron. The inner tooth layer is soft and pithy. Nature designed this multi-layered tooth to be self-sharpening. As the porcupine chews on wood, the soft under layer wears away, leaving a razor-sharp and iron-strong beveled edge.
Why doesn’t he shoot his quills at you? It’s an old wives tale that porcupines shoot their quills — they can’t. Teddy does have 35,000 barbed quills underneath all that soft, fluffy guard hair. The quills cover every part of his body, except his face, paws and belly. We don’t often get “quilled,” as we are not a threat to him and he doesn’t feel the need to ward us off. If he did feel threatened, Teddy would first flair his tail hair and show you his quills as a warning. If you didn’t heed his warning, he’d then spin like a top and whack you with his tail full of quills. Does it hurt? Yes…a lot.
How can people see Teddy in person? They can book Zooniversity® to do a wildlife program at their school, PTA meeting, church, library or scout troop. He can also be scheduled for Private Meet-n-Greets – we’ve had fans fly in from both East and West coasts just to meet Teddy in person!