Hudson Valley residents may soon have new neighbors. No, we're not talking about transplants from New York City. It's your friendly neighborhood porcupine.

I've been living in the Hudson Valley since the 90s and I've never seen a porcupine. in fact, I never even knew porcupines lived in New York State.  Outside of being in a zoo, I just assumed porcupines lived out in the northwest or somewhere far away.

It turns out that New York State is home to quite a few porcupines and it looks like they're growing in numbers. The spikey rodents have populations in the Adirondacks and the Catskills and are slowly spreading into other regions as well.

Recently the DEC responded to a report of a sick and injured porcupine in the backyard of a Hudson Valley home. An officer was dispatched to the scene and found a female porcupine alive, but barely able to move. Luckily, an animal rehabilitator from the Trevor Zoo in Millbrook was called in to assess the porcupine and lend assistance. The animal was put into a container and transported to the zoo where it will receive treatment. Once recovered, the porcupine will be released back into the Hudson Valley.

If you happen to spot a porcupine in your yard it's not a cause for alarm. The animals are not aggressive towards humans unless provoked. Most likely, a porcupine will be scared away by your presence. Pets, on the other hand, can scare the animals and cause them to attack. You may have heard that porcupines can shoot their quills when threatened, but that is simply not true. A porcupine that feels threatened will raise their quills and charge at an animal to fend them off.

While there have been scattered porcupine sightings in our area, they've mostly been in Sullivan and Ulster counties. As their number increase, however, you can expect that these encounters will become more frequent.

Have you come face to face with a porcupine in the Hudson Valley? We'd love to hear about your encounter. You can share your story in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

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