Excavated echidna puggle - progress report
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
We thought you might like an update on the tiny puggle rescued in northern NSW after being dug up by an excavator.
The good news is that the little puggle is doing very well; putting on weight and his/her colour is changing, getting much darker as you can see and spines are beginning to grow.
If you do ever find an injured echidna (or rescue an orphaned puggle from the pouch of its mother) it is important to know that while most mammals need to be kept warm this is not the case for echidnas.
Echidnas have a lower body temperature than other mammals and should be kept cool and not placed near hot water bottles or other heat sources where they cannot choose to move away to cooler temperatures. Echidnas are one of only two known egg-laying mammals in the world, known as monotremes, the other being the platypus. When the female lays an egg it is laid directly into her pouch, where it will hatch in safety after about 10 days.
The blind, naked young puggle will then suckle milk from two milk patches (as monotremes have no nipples).
After a short time they begin to develop spines. The mother then sensibly digs a nursery burrow and leaves the puggle there, plugging the entrance with dirt and leaves and returning every five days for feeding until it is weaned at around eight months of age.
They have been known to live up for to 50 years of age.