A Maine man has a prickly new addition to his family after an unlikely roadside C-section left him caring for a baby porcupine.
Jared Buzzell was on his way to the woods in Minot, Maine, to hunt for mushrooms with medicinal properties when he saw the car in front of him hit a porcupine.
Buzzell’s first reaction was to hop out of his car and ascertain whether it was alive. After discovering that it was dead, Buzzell cut open the porcupine to look for a valuable mineral deposit called a bezoar stone that his uncle told him formed in the stomach of porcupines.
But instead of a bezoar, Buzzell found a baby porcupine inside. There was only one thing to do: take it home and nurse it back to health with his daughter’s baby-doll bottle.
"[I] cut the sack open and out fell the porcupine,” Buzzell told ABC News affiliate WMTW-TV in Portland, Maine. “[I] cut the umbilical cord, put it in a hat. We thought it was dead.
“Then I started massaging it and all kinds of stuff starting coming out of its lungs, so it started breathing.” Buzzell has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.
The “porcupette” is now at the Buzzell family apartment in Lisbon, Maine, where the family is feeding it baby formula to help it regain its strength, according to WMTW. Buzzell says they then plan to hand the “adorable” animal to a wildlife rehabilitator, much to the dismay of his wife, who wants to keep it.
A bezoar stone, or “date,” is a tightly packed undigested or partially undigested mineral deposit stuck in the stomach or intestinal tract of animals. They can consist of hairs, fruit and vegetables, seeds or other hardened objects and are used in Chinese herbal medicine, as they are thought to cure a range of illnesses from diabetes to cancer. Bezoar literally means “antidote” in Persian.
Porcupines are herbivores that feast on plants and tree bark, according to a Maine Government wildlife fact sheet. They also love salt and are “attracted to objects that have salty human sweat on them, such as ax handles, boat oars,” as well as frequently gnaw on dropped deer antlers for minerals.
Hunters are permitted to trap porcupines year-round in Maine, but not permitted to keep them as pets without a license, the Maine Wildlife and Fisheries Department told ABC News.