One Family’s Adventures Raising a Cuddly Baby Porcupine

By Sue Roberts of the Sirikoi Lodge in Kenya

We found Nung (NUNGUNUNGU is Swahili for porcupine) when she was just a few days old. She was at the entrance to her burrow, lying next to her dead mother. We do not know why her mother had died, but suspected it was from poisoning. So we fed the baby milk from a tiny bottle with cerealac, and from the start, she had a fantastic appetite and adopted us as her family.

With a love for all creatures, Sue's team at the Sirikoi Lodge have helped orphaned wildlife of many species

Nung was very affectionate, wanting to snuggle up with us in bed or with the dogs who tolerated her despite getting pricked by her sharp quills occasionally. She used to travel with us in the Land Rover and by plane, happy to be in her dark cat box (we covered it with a blanket) and she felt safe and would sleep happily until we arrived. It must have felt like the burrow where she would normally have lived.

Once we arrived, she would rush about the house and make a place for herself where she would always go if she wanted to rest, usually in a cupboard or a dark corner under a bed. If we called and she did not come, we would find her asleep in her special place. She was a very content little porcupine, even in our alien world.

One favorite place, when she was small, was to cuddle up under my hair and suck my earlobe, which was very tickly. She was most put out when I had to stop her doing this as she got bigger. She used to lie on my tummy when watching television on the bed until she again got too big and had to be persuaded to shift, at which point her quills would immediately spring up in protest, so I had to be quite careful. Also, if she got a fright or was annoyed with the dogs, her quills would spring up.

Nung enjoys a belly rub

She and the dogs would come for long walks which she loved and the dogs and kids were her friends and family. She would have mad fits of joy, running round and round the sleeping dogs, rattling her quills and doing a little dance. When we went to the coast, she loved running down the beach with the dogs in the sand but would not follow them into the water.

Enjoying her meal of strawberries

She was soon fully grown and would spend some time each evening foraging around in the garden. One evening, she did not return. We suspect she was taken by the leopard who lived in the nearby forest. We were heartbroken, particularly the children, as she was so much a part of our lives. We missed her cuddling up on the sofa with us in the evening and bringing so much fun and humor to our lives.

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158 comments

Bette-Ann Libin
Bette-Ann Libin2 years ago

No words~

Silvia W.
Silvia W.3 years ago

My dad rescued a porcupine from a trap in the forest. Clementine lived with us while her foot healed. She was friendly and loved to be petted on her stomach, also. Dad told us that we shouldn't get too attached to her, as she was a wild animal. He took her back to the woods and released her.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

CHRISTINANICKI G.
.3 years ago

again a sad ending,so sorry,thank you

Stephen K.
Stephen K.3 years ago

Every animal must come to an ending, and those that love them will always be sad. My wild rescue experience has been more with squirrels, songbirds and rabbits. I hope my 3 year old squirrel whom I saw today remains a part of my life for a long time, but whenever I lose him I will be devastated.

Amber Beasley
Amber Beasley3 years ago

aww how cute and sweet!! thank you for rescuing the little thing. I'm so sorry she's gone now =(

Anita Wisch
Anita Wisch3 years ago

I have raised 2 baby porcupines, and their personalities were as different as night and day!

The first one was so affectionate, she would let me rub her cheek, and she would then try to lick me from whichever side I rubbed. I would sit in a chair on my balcony, stomp my feet, and she would play "tag" and rattle her quills with excitement.

The second one was a much more "grumpy" one, and didn't like to be held or touched, unless I was feeding him his bottle. It was a privledge to raise them, and I would not trade it for anything, even with all the quill pricks while they were growing up.

Waheeda S.
Waheeda S.3 years ago

*not

Waheeda S.
Waheeda S.3 years ago

Well that's now how I expected the story to end! :( :( :(

stacey t.
Stacey Toda3 years ago

Sad ending :(