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Zoo collects Christmas trees
Animal makes surprise arrival
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While many places close down the week of Christmas, the North Georgia Zoo will be open during the holiday break.

The zoo’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 26-29 and Jan. 4 at 2912 Paradise Valley Road in Cleveland.

Visitors may receive $1 off admission when they bring in their Christmas tree for recycling. Trees must be live, free of decorations, tinsel and chemical sprays and still green. No brown or artificial trees will be accepted.

Goats, sheep, cows, buffalo and other animals eat the trees. But wolves, cougars and kangaroos use the trees as chew toys to scratch on, drag them around and play hide-and-seek with them. Beavers, porcupines and even the monkeys will stay busy tearing their trees apart and redecorating their enclosures.

And speaking of porcupines, visitors to the zoo will catch a glimpse of the newest addition to the species.

While doing a routine animal check, zookeeper Justin Eckelberry caught glimpse of tiny movement in the African Crested Porcupine exhibit. On closer inspection, he realized it was a brand-new baby porcupine.

With that morning being cold and the forecast calling for even colder weather, the tiny bundle of quills was brought into the zoo nursery.

Rose, as she is fondly called by her caretaker, wears specially made sweaters to keep her extra warm. Rose will make special appearances after Christmas and during winter wonderland tours. To follow her adventures or learn more about North Georgia Zoo, visit