The Taronga Western Plains Zoo in New South Wales, Australia has been hand rearing a baby echidna (called a puggle) over the last couple of months.
The little puggle was found at the side of the road. It is believed the mother was hit by a car.
“The puggle is now approximately four months old and responding very well under the watchful eye of the vet nurses,” said vet nurse, Jodie Milton.
“It’s feeding well and gaining weight steadily, so we’ll be able to wean it in about three to four months’ time and start introducing it to solid food.”
Normally, echidnas live in their mothers’ pouches for 2-3 months and then move into a secluded burrow for up to a year. So it is very rare to see an echidna puggle.
“It will be some time before the puggle will be able to fend for itself, but until then it’s in safe hands,” said Jodie.
For more information about the little puggle, see the Taronga Western Plains Zoo website.
Learn more about echidnas at our short-beaked echidna facts page.
Meet our featured animal, the short-beaked echidna (e-KID-nuh)!
Here are five fun facts about short-beaked echidnas:
- Echidnas are monotremes, or mammals that lay eggs.
- Similar to reptiles, echidnas’ legs protrude outwards and then downwards, resulting in a waddling effect when they walk.
- The echidna has a pointy snout that can sense electrical signals from insect bodies.
- Echidnas do not have teeth, but they do have horny pads in their mouths and on the back of their tongues which grind the prey.
- Baby echidnas are called puggles!