Giant African porcupine on the loose in Pierce County

SPANAWAY, Wash. — Washington has porcupines.

But it’s rare we see one like this.

For the past 13 months, an African crested porcupine has been spotted by residents around Spanaway. The little dude has been seed munching in gardens, on chicken feed and on cat food.

African crested porcupines are native to Northern and Central Africa. They grow to around 30 pounds, and have quills that can get 18-inches long.

Jasmine Glaze, a wildlife rehabilitator at Graham’s A Soft Place to Land, said she’s received calls about the big fellow for more than a year. She believes the porcupine was likely bred in captivity as a pet, and then released into the wild for an unknown reason.

The porcupine is not particularly dangerous unless provoked, Glaze said. But if it’s approached, it will defend itself.

“They’re not aggressive,” Glaze said. “They’re not going to attack you. But if he’s scared he will try to defend himself.”

Glaze said the African crested porcupine is different from the North American porcupine because of it’s long Mohawk-like pattern of quills on its back. It’s also much larger.

If spotted, call a Soft Place to Land at 360-761-2915.