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Rare porcupine spotted in Marion County

Staff writer

While Evan Just was returning home from work Friday, he spotted what he first mistook as a badger waddling through a ditch southeast of Aulne, but the creature turned out to be a porcupine.

“When I got out of the truck to check it out, it had climbed a tree and was sitting there watching me,” Evan said.

Evan called his father, Hillsboro elementary teacher Rod Just, and told him what he had seen.

“People talk about porcupines throwing quills but it wasn’t fluffed up while we were there,” Just said. “It was just hanging out in the cedar eating.”

While Just and his son were watching it and taking photographs, Bill Shirley drove by.

“It was real furry and it didn’t seem to be afraid,” Shirley said. “It was a pretty mellow creature.”

With an abundance of quills hidden in their fur, porcupines have a reputation among dog owners for causing curious canines serious pain.

Shirley said the fact that there were no dogs around probably helped it stay calm. He was able to get within a couple feet of it for the Justs to take a “selfie” of him and the laidback mammal.

“Seeing something rare like this animal is just something you want to share,” Rod Just said. “The only other one I’ve heard of around here was years ago north of Aulne.”

On Monday, Just shared pictures of the porcupine encounter with his fifth grade class as part of a lesson about animal characteristics and the classification of living things.

“It was great timing to be able to show the students,” he said. “They were especially surprised when I said that we took the picture in the area since none had ever seen one in the wild around here before.”

Last modified Sept. 11, 2014

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