It was just before sundown on Dec. 6 when hunter Greg Strand heard a commotion nearby in the trees. Strand, who was out in the Windham woods, ducked out of sight to see what was moving among the trees.
What happened next was quite the unusual encounter.
A large dark-colored porcupine was moving through the trees, and following close behind it was another porcupine — apparently albino — that blended in with the snow.
“I knew it was special,” Strand told NBC affiliate News Center Maine after he captured his encounter with the albino porcupine on film.
The short video shows the pair of porcupines waddling through the trees, and it has since been widely shared on social media, exciting and enthralling animal lovers.
“Porcupines usually get a pretty bad rap. We hear about how dogs get into them. But to actually see them in the wild, peaceful and as cute as they are, was really interesting,” Strand told News Center Maine.
Albinism is a genetic condition that prevents cells from producing melanin, which gives hair and skin color. It results in light skin and hair, as well as pinkish or red eyes, according to the Mayo Clinic.
It is extremely rare among porcupines, and while no good data are available on how common it is among the rodents, some biologists estimate it occurs once in every 10,000 births, according to New Hampshire ABC affiliate WMUR.
This is at least the second albino porcupine spotted in Maine in 2018. In May, an albino porcupine was seen crossing a road in Kennebunk, according to ABC affiliate WMTW.