In the wild, animals would seem to have little use for individual names. But in zoos, it’s common to give the creatures on exhibit names the public can use to create a connection and the zoo staff can use to get their attention and cooperation.

So last week, the Smithsonian Institution, of which the National Zoo is part, polled the public on a name for the zoo’s newborn prehensile-tailed porcupine. A baby porcupine is called a porcupette, a term that might seem to be sufficiently affectionate and symbolic.

However, the Smithsonian offered four less-generic choices on its Twitter feed. Time was apparently important. The youngster was born last month, and the Smithsonian said keepers “like to name animals within two months after they’re born.”

The choices for a name were Gonzo, Prickles, Quilliam and Quillson. The last three at least seemed to reflect the best known of porcupine qualities.

The secretary of the Smithsonian, Lonnie G. Bunch III, showed himself in the spirit of the balloting. “Choose wisely,” he urged on his own Twitter feed.

Readers may debate the wisdom of the selection, but the Smithsonian’s electoral tally showed the name perhaps least evocative of porcupines, Gonzo, got fewest of the 2,486 votes cast. The winner, with 43 percent, the Smithsonian said, was Quilliam. So, apparently that is settled.