When officials at Nova Scotia’s Two Rivers Wildlife Park paired an orphaned porcupine with two adult porcupines, they became an instant family.
“They are in love with her,” park attendant Jerrit Lewis told The Cape Breton Post. “They follow Spanky everywhere.”
Spanky is the name of the young porcupine—also known as a porcupette—that came to the park after its mother was struck by a car in Antigonish. He was found by a Whycocomagh man, who came across the days-old animal and its dead mother when he was driving home from work in Halifax.
Lewis told The Post that they originally planned to wait until spring before introducing Spanky to the park’s two adult porcupines, which are both around 11-years-old. A few days ago, however, they decided it was time and placed Spanky in the enclosure next to the male porcupine, Pins, first.
“Pins sniffed him and then just followed Spanky wherever he went. He never left Spanky’s side,” Lewis said.
The female porcupine, Needles, needed a few minutes to get used to Spanky’s presence, but after a little sniffing she fell in love too.
“She took her claws and began running them down the length of Spanky’s back, like she was comforting him. They’ve been inseparable since.”
Since that initial introduction, Pins and Needles have also become very protective of their adoptive son. Lewis said that in the many years he’s worked at the park, he’s never heard a peep from either of the porcupines. But that changed when Spanky came along.
Picking up the baby porcupine is “like you’re taking their child from them,” Lewis said. “The mother will start whining and she’ll follow you and almost start climbing up your legs to reach him.”
Then, when Spanky is placed back in the enclosure, she’ll start circling him to make sure he’s okay.
Lewis thinks the connection has been as good for Pins and Needles as it has been for Spanky.
“It has brought a little youth back in their lives,” he said.