Here’s Dorit as a baby, eight years ago. Photo by Tibor Yager/Ramat Gan Safari
Here’s Dorit as a baby, eight years ago. Photo by Tibor Yager/Ramat Gan Safari

Dorit the porcupine has a wild male suitor and the Ramat Gan Safari Park doesn’t know what to do about it.

The two star-crossed prickly rodent lovers have been meeting secretly along the fence of Dorit’s enclosure and probably wouldn’t have been found out had Romeo not left his droppings in full view.

In fact, the mystery suitor prickled the zookeepers with anger: They mistakenly believed the person in charge of cleaning Dorit’s pen was slacking, and instead of throwing her droppings into a special disposal, was sweeping them beyond the fence of her enclosure.

Dorit shares her enclosure with owls.
Dorit shares her enclosure with owls. Photo by Tibor Yager/Ramat Gan Safari

 

Then, one night not long ago, the zookeeper on night watch caught sight of a spiky animal just outside of Dorit’s pen and sounded the alarm that she had escaped. Of course, this was not the case.

A hidden camera caught the lovesick Romeo on film, breaking into the Safari Park and spending hours wooing the object of his affection. There are no Montagues or Capulets in this love story, but just a set of bars that keep Dorit separated from her Romeo.

Now this youthful love is a thorny issue for zoo staff. On the one hand, they don’t want to deny Dorit – Juliet in this soap opera – her romantic venture. But Dorit has grown up in the zoo and can’t survive in the wild. She was found eight years ago by passersby after her mother had been run over. She has shared a pen with three owls at the Safari Park ever since.

On the other hand, her Romeo is a wild porcupine and sticking him in an enclosure for the rest of his natural life is not a solution either.

Safari spokeswoman Sagit Horowitz says Israeli porcupines go into heat twice a year but that Dorit is not in heat at the moment. Yet, based on the pile of poo alongside Dorit’s enclosure, her male suitor doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, zookeepers report the piles are only getting bigger.

Dorit as a baby, eight years ago, being nursed back to health. Photo by Tibor Yager/Ramat Gan Safari
Dorit as a baby, eight years ago, being nursed back to health. Photo by Tibor Yager/Ramat Gan Safari

 

Dorit as a baby, eight years ago. Photo by Tibor Yager/Ramat Gan Safari
Dorit as a baby, eight years ago. Photo by Tibor Yager/Ramat Gan Safari