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A Massive Porcupine Puppet. That Is All

A massive porcupine puppet head peaks out of a faux log as kids watch nearby.
Percy the Porcupine debuted for L.A. schoolchildren on Tuesday at Elysian Park.
(Ken Bohn
Courtesy San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance)
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He's cute, prickly, and a little sleepy. He also happens to be two stories tall.

With a 40-foot cranium and a nose the size of a 2-ton car, Percy the Porcupine may be one of the largest puppets ever made. And he was born in Los Angeles.

Built on commission for the San Diego Zoo's new Wildlife Explorers Basecamp, it took five fabricators and more than 1,000 hours to create Percy.

Kids in yellow T-shirts touch the face of the porcupine puppet
(Ken Bohn
Courtesy San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance )
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But Peter Brooke, the creative director at the Glendale-based Jim Henson Creature Shop, which created Percy, says he wasn't sure they could make it work.

"One of the things that we were concerned about is, could we maintain, quite frankly, the cuteness of the real porcupine in something that is, you know, 20 feet tall," Brooke said, "You know what I mean — maintaining that central character and the particular porcupine-ness of the real porcupine."

Percy was recently unveiled to a crowd of schoolchildren at L.A.'s Elysian Park. Brooke says the best part was seeing the kids find Percy endearing, rather than scary.

You can visit Percy at the San Diego Zoo starting Friday, March 11, when the Wildlife Explorers Basecamp opens.

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