This porcupine is one in ten-thousand—literally. It’s an albino, which is a rare quality in porcupines. So rare, in fact, that initially the owner of this video didn’t know what she was looking at.
“I saw an animal, a white animal, and I thought at first it was a cat. Then I saw the way it was lumbering along, and I knew it was not a cat,” Lichty, a resident of Lempster, New Hampshire, told the Concord Monitor. Instead, it was a snow-white porcupine which was foraging around her driveway, snacking on leaves and grass.
The porcupine’s appearance is extremely striking, and watching it almost feels like looking at a new species entirely. Albinism is a genetic condition that prevents cells from producing melanin, the pigment that gives hair and skin colour. The result of the lack of melanin is extremely light skin and hair, coupled with pinkish nails and eyes.
While this albino porcupine is beautiful, it may be in for a bit of a rough ride due to its colouring. It’s hard to hide from predators when you’ve got a stark-white coat. And due to its lack of melanin, this porcupine will have less sturdy quills than its non-albino friends. Nevertheless, the animal does retain its warning odor, which predators will associate with the sharp prickles of the regular porcupine, so it may be able to compensate.
In this video, anyway, the porcupine seems perfectly content, munching away on the plants near Lichty’s driveway before disappearing into the brush like a prickly little ghost.