When a worried motorist stopped to help a wounded porcupine in Debert, N.S., last weekend, the animal was so weak it fell over when approached.
The driver brought the porcupine to the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre south of Truro, N.S. It had two holes in its head, leading staff at the centre to initially believe it had been shot.
But when wildlife veterinarian Dr. Helene Van Doninck took a look, she found no traces of lead. Another porcupine at the centre had been shot, and they found lead in its sinuses.
Van Doninck thinks this porcupine was attacked by a predator, likely a fisher. Despite the name, the member of the weasel family actually eats porcupines and other small mammals.
An X-ray revealed she was pregnant, but the porcupette was stillborn.
"The fact the baby wasn't alive when she came out is for the best for the porcupine because she isn't well enough to raise the baby," said Van Doninck. "She's too thin and isn't producing milk."
Van Doninck sewed up the one-year-old porcupine's wounds.
Staff at the rehab centre are feeding the porcupine a diet of apples and applesauce while she regains her strength. Staff expect she will make a full recovery.
When she is strong enough, she'll be released back into the wild.