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Patient Update: North American Porcupine Stuck in a Storm Drain


North American Porcupine

storm drain

In the fall of 2023, a woman and her dogs were at the park when the dogs came across a storm drain and wouldn't stop barking. She looked down the drain only to see an adult North American porcupine crawling in the pipes below. She took action immediately and called Alberta Fish and Wildlife to notify them. Alberta Fish and Wildlife then called our hotline to ask for help, explaining the situation to us and connecting us with the lady from the dog park.

North American Porcupine

Rescuing a wild animal from a storm drain is not exactly a simple procedure, not only because of the difficult location to access but also because storm drains are under the City's control. Our hotline staff proceeded to call the City to get permission to rescue the porcupine and to get a worker out there to open up the drains. It was a waiting game until the City worker could get out there and so a staff member remained on-call to go out and rescue the porcupine. Normally a City worker might be able to pull an animal like a cat out of a drain themselves, but with a porcupine, it is important for trained personnel to handle them. Porcupines are very good at protecting themselves with their spikes and it is easy to get quilled in the process if you are not trained or wearing the right protective equipment.


As soon as the City called to let us know they were ready and waiting on site, we sent out the on-call staff member to assist. The pipes under the storm drain were large enough in some areas for a person to fit in but too small in other areas. Unfortunately, when the team tried to catch the porcupine it ran down one of the smaller pipes. Our team decided to leave a trap down in the storm drain overnight with some food in it to hopefully lure the porcupine in so she could be rescued.


North American Porcupine

The next day the City worker went out to check the trap and found the porcupine inside. This was our lucky day and we rushed to pick it up and bring it back to our centre! Upon arrival at the clinic, the porcupine was examined and found to be without injuries. The porcupine was kept for monitoring and given lots of food and water to replenish and regain her energy. We did not know how long she had been down in the storm drain without proper food or water so we wanted to make sure she went back out into the wild in the best possible condition. After a week went by in good health, the porcupine was happily released into a different natural area to prevent her from getting attacked by dogs at the park or getting back into the same situation again, stuck in the pipes. The team at Calgary Wildlife is so thankful to be able to partner with the City of Calgary and with Alberta Fish and Wildlife in cases like these to rescue wild animals and get them back into their proper habitats.


If you observe a wild animal in need of help, please call our hotline at:

403-214-1312.





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