Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

A porcupine — in West Virginia?

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West Virginia gets a prickly visitor

Residents of Leon, W.Va., have seen something unusual roaming their neighborhood of late — a porcupine.

In some states that wouldn’t be all that unusual. In West Virginia it is. The state lies outside the porcupine’s native range.

Ken Bartlett, a friend who lives in the Leon area, first encountered the critter when he found it harassing his dog in its kennel. Bartlett, who has lived in states where porcupines are common, was astounded by the size of the porky in his backyard. He estimated it to be as much as 4 feet long and to weigh as much as 40 pounds. The porcupine’s unusual black coloration also puzzled Bartlett.

The creature turned out to be an Indian Crested Porcupine, native to Asia. Bartlett believes it’s an escaped pet, mainly because it shows little fear of humans.