After stepping out onto her driveway, Susan Lichty of Lempster, New Hampshire, thought she’d spotted a feline visitor rummaging through the grass. However, once she whipped out her phone to film the creature, Susan realised she’d stumbled onto an animal much, much rarer: an albino porcupine.
‘I saw an animal, a white animal, and I thought at first it was a cat. Then I saw the way it was lumbering along, and I knew it was not a cat,’ she reported to the Concord Monitor.
The hereditary condition known as Albinism occurs when there is a complete or partial lack of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes, which results from the body’s inability to properly produce melanin. It is extremely rare, with approximately one in every 10,000 mammals being born with the genetic defect. Albinism can also contribute to problems with vision, and increases the risk of skin cancer.
Albinism also puts porcupines at serious risk from predators. Not only is the creature unable to blend in with its natural surroundings, but its quills are actually softer due to the lack of melanin. This means that should the poor animal come under attack, it will be unable to properly defend itself.
That being said, the condition doesn’t seem to have made much of an impact on this particular porcupine’s well-being—just take a look at his happy little face chomping away at Susan’s plant life and we think you’ll agree!