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Video: Off-colour porcupine surprises a Thunder Bay family

The animal's colour was much lighter than normal.
porcupine edited (2)

THUNDER BAY — A Thunder Bay family received a close-up view of an unusually coloured porcupine.

The visitor showed up in the yard of their home off John Street Road on the weekend.

When it waddled out of the forest and realized there were people in the vicinity, the porcupine initially clambered up a small poplar.

Finding its perch a little too wobbly, the animal then climbed down to find a larger poplar nearby. 

Homeowner Andrew Cotter said his daughter and her friends were sitting around preparing to have a campfire

"All of a sudden, the porcupine came out of the bush and kind of startled them...They weren't sure what it was even." 

Cotter believed it might be an albino.

He said he's not an expert but "It's quite white...If you zoom in you can see it's definitely not a normal colour."

Porcupines are usually dark brown or black in colour.

An expert with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry who examined the pictures said he doesn't believe this animal is a true albino as it has dark pigment around its eyes and nose.

This condition is referred to as isabelline, which describes a dilution of pigment where there is a substantial but not complete reduction in melanin caused by genetic mutation. 

It results in a coat that is sandy or cream-coloured.

A ministry spokesperson said the condition is somewhat rare, and noted that colour variations such as this may make an animal more visible and at increased risk of predation.

The incidence of true albinism in porcupines is estimated at one in 10,000.

NOTE: This story has been updated to include additional information obtained from the MNRF


Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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