Prickly pair find love after trauma

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porcupien love SUPPLIED Penny and her babies PJ (Prickles Junior) and Popcorn. Picture: Cango Wildlife Ranch

Cape Town - If an albino porcupine with half her face skinned off can find love – without resorting to online dating – there may be hope for the rest of us.

Cango Wildlife Ranch employees have successfully played matchmaker between Penny, the albino female porcupine and a male named Prickles.

Penny and Prickles were an unlikely romance.

According to Tammy Moult, from Cango, their curators retrieved Penny after a call from a local farmer last June. Not only was Penny an albino but she also had a severe facial injury, presumably from being caught in a trap.

Much of her face was skinned off, with a large section of the skull visible. “It was horrible,” said Moult. “I thought there was no way for her to recover.”

Months of care went into Penny’s rehabilitation.

Their vets treated her with painkillers and medicines to promote the growth of skin on her face.

Prickles also came from a distressing background: he was rescued from a farm after being found next to the dead body of his mother, who had been shot dead.

Cango employees had been trying to find a mate for him, but didn’t want to pull a female porcupine out of the wild. Then, they figured out a solution.

As Penny’s rehabilitation was nearing its end, Cango employees moved Prickles into the enclosure next to her.

It took some time for them to get used to each other.

However, “their initial ‘flight or fight’ reaction quickly faded and resulted in love at second sight,” said Moult. As of early April, Prickles and Penny are now the proud parents of two prickly porcupine babies, which Cango officials have named PJ (Prickles Junior) and Popcorn.

Both of the “spikey bundles of joy” take after their non-albino father in colouring, said Moult.

“Penny and Prickles are wonderful parents and guard them with their lives,” said Moult. The porcupines will be staying on Cango’s premises and included in their education programmes. It’s unclear whether their romance will last: porcupines do not mate for life in the wild. - Cape Argus

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