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Vets thought a porcupine named Betty White had a tumor, turns out she was pregnant

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Doctors thought a porcupine named Betty White, who was recovering from health issues at the Saco River Wildlife Center in Limington, might have had a tumor. But it turned out she was pregnant with an adorable porcupette. (Saco River Wildlife Center)

LIMINGTON, Maine (WGME) -- Veterinarians at the Saco River Wildlife Center in Limington, Maine thought a porcupine named Betty White might have had a tumor. But it turned out she was pregnant with an adorable porcupette.

Betty the North American porcupine was brought to the Saco River Wildlife Center in mid-February because she was suffering from mange and ringworm. During her time there, their vet also removed a cancerous tumor on her back side.

[Mild start to the work week in Maine; more beneficial rain on the way]

Recently, they said they noticed her stomach felt hard, almost like a mass.

“We knew there were two options: Betty either had another tumor internally, or she was pregnant,” the Saco River Wildlife Center said. “And this is where the story changes and quickly! It was confirmed that Betty White was indeed pregnant. And not just pregnant, she was full-term, and the baby was already in the birth canal."

Betty gave birth to an adorable porcupette on Friday shortly after doctors confirmed the pregnancy.

The Saco River Wildlife Center said both Betty and baby are in good health.

They will continue to treat Betty and will release the two together at a later time.

“These are the moments that make the difficult days so incredibly worth it,” the Saco River Wildlife Center said.

[Maine Trails Coalition working to open more walking and biking trails in Maine]

Here are some facts about porcupettes:

  • Female porcupines carry their young for a gestation period of 16 to 31 weeks, depending on species, and give birth to one to three babies at a time. Baby porcupines are called porcupettes, according to LiveScience
  • Porcupettes are about three percent of mother's weight at birth, according to the San Diego Zoo.
  • At birth, they have soft quills, which harden in a few days.
  • Porcupettes mature at 9 months to 2.5 years, depending on species and can live up to 15 years in the wild.
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