We were called to deal with an unusual rescue in Birmingham last weekend – an escaped porcupine.

African Crested Porcupine © RSPCA

The adventurous rodent had managed to dig his way out of his home and ended up hiding in some undergrowth in Iris Drive, Birmingham.

The porcupine was found after a dog had gone into the bushes to investigate and came out with porcupine spikes on his body, but it was checked over and was okay following the encounter.

The dog’s owner investigated and realised that it was indeed a porcupine that had been responsible for his dog’s prickly encounter.

The dog owner called us and Inspector Helen Smith attended.

The porcupine has been reunited with his owner

Helen said:

“At first I didn’t really believe it was going to be a porcupine – but as I dug in to the undergrowth with the help of others – I discovered it was indeed a porcupine!
“I’ve been working for the RSPCA for 14 years and have never had to deal with a porcupine – but luckily I had the right equipment which enabled me to catch him and put him into one of our kennels.


“It really was a very unusual rescue – but I am glad that it had a happy ending.”

Helen took the porcupine to a nearby appropriate venue for boarding where he was kept overnight while efforts were made to trace his owner.

The owner of the african crested porcupine has been found – and the pair since reunited.

Hannah Nott actually looks after wild animals professionally, and the porcupine was a new addition – but had escaped due to an oversight by the builders, who had not put in the meshing to the enclosure deep enough, and the porcupine dug his way out.

The owner added that she is grateful to everyone who had helped to return the porcupine safe and well and also said she was happy to pay for the dog owner’s vet bills after it was injured.

She also emphasised that the porcupine was a specialist animal which was not recommended as a pet.

Exotic pets are incredibly challenging to care for

The porcupine, which is six months old, is not classed as a ‘dangerous wild animal’ and so does not require a license to be kept in the UK – but does require appropriate paperwork to be used commercially.

Exotic pets like these are incredibly specialist animals to care for and are only suitable for people who have a great deal of knowledge and the correct environment for them. They should never under any circumstances be taken on without that knowledge. As with other captive animals, it’s important to provide suitable secure enclosures to prevent escape.

Find out more about exotic pets and our concerns about the trade and keeping of exotic pets.

We can’t do it without you

To help the RSPCA carry out rescues like this please donate online or text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (texts costs £3 + the one standard network rate message).