Expert says animal spotted in Lakeway neighborhood is a porcupine

UPDATE, 2:15 P.M.

An animal expert has weighed in on the animal that was spotted in Lakeway last week. 

"It is without question a porcupine and in all likelihood a North American porcupine," Austin Zoo general curator John Gramieri said.

Gramieri said the distinction was clear 24 seconds into the video when the porcupine can be seen facing sideways. In the video, the animal is using its paws to put food in a "blunt snout."

A family in Lakeway found an anteater in their backyard Tuesday night.

“There’s an anteater in Lakeway and I have proof,” said David Camp who spotted the animal.

Anteaters are not indigenous to the United States, so wildlife experts said this is probably someone's pet that escaped.
Anteaters can survive in Texas; the only real concern is that they could outcompete other wildlife that eats the same kind of bugs.

David and Robin Hines said they heard a funny noise coming from their back porch the night they  found the animal.

“You could hear it in the tree almost slurping like a little vacuum cleaner,” said David. 

They grabbed a cellphone and took a video while trying to figure out what exactly the creature was.

“He’s got this enormous long nose,” David said. 

“I'm not an anteater expert, I don't know, didn't even know what an anteater was until all this came up,” he added. 

The Camp family thinks the anteater is now living underneath their deck.

“We’re going to name it Pinocchio,” Anabelle Camp said. 

It has been slurping up all the ants that used to be a problem for the Camps.

“It looks like he just went straight in and grabbed himself a nice juicy bug,” David said. 

Since anteaters don't live in the United States, David has some ideas where it could have come from.

“This is likely either something that has ventured its way up north somehow on a very long journey or somebody's pet that has escaped and gotten out,” said David. 

Having the wild animal around doesn't scare him.

“This thing moves so slow that if it comes after you, just like, make yourself a sandwich and slowly move and exit out to the back,” David said. 

That doesn't mean Pinocchio will be moving in forever.

“They said to just monitor it and if I see it again to just call them and call the police and they would try to get it and relocate it,” David said referring to the Austin Wildlife Rescue. 

“I want to keep it and keep it as a pet and feed it,” Anabelle said. 

It is legal to have an anteater as a pet in Texas if you have the proper license.
“They’re actually really safe. They don't have teeth. They do have velociraptor like claws on them, so they do recommend not cornering them. When they get cornered they have an innate ability to go after your primary arteries,” David said.

David said at least one other person in Lakeway has spotted the animal and, until he can get a better shot of it, he will be out scouring the trees for his new houseguest.

“We’re excited to see him again,” David said.