How do you rescue a porcupine with 2 holes in her head? Very carefully

When a worried motorist stopped to help a wounded porcupine in Debert, N.S., last weekend, the animal was so weak it fell over when approached.

Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre staff stitch up wounded animal and prepare her for return to the wild

A driver in Debert found the porcupine at the side of the road. She was so weak she fell over when approached, rather than running away. (Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre)

When a worried motorist stopped to help a wounded porcupine in Debert, N.S., last weekend, the animal was so weak it fell over when approached. 

The driver brought the porcupine to the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre south of Truro, N.S. It had two holes in its head, leading staff at the centre to initially believe it had been shot. 

(Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre )

But when wildlife veterinarian Dr. Helene Van Doninck took a look, she found no traces of lead. Another porcupine at the centre had been shot, and they found lead in its sinuses. 

Van Doninck thinks this porcupine was attacked by a predator, likely a fisher. Despite the name, the member of the weasel family actually eats porcupines and other small mammals. 

An X-ray revealed she was pregnant, but the porcupette was stillborn. 

"The fact the baby wasn't alive when she came out is for the best for the porcupine because she isn't well enough to raise the baby," said Van Doninck. "She's too thin and isn't producing milk." 

(Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre )

Van Doninck sewed up the one-year-old porcupine's wounds. 

(Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre )

Staff at the rehab centre are feeding the porcupine a diet of apples and applesauce while she regains her strength. Staff expect she will make a full recovery.

When she is strong enough, she'll be released back into the wild. 

(Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre )