Echidna

Classification

Tachyglossus Aculeatus

Kingdom: AnimaliaEchidna in grass

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Monotremata

Family: Tachyglossidae

Genus: Tachyglossus

Species: Aculeatus

Anatomy

Echidna anatomy

Behavior

Echidnas are solitary animals. They tend to overlap others’ territories, but do not spend time with them. Mating and time spent with their mothers is the most bonding they tend to have with fellow echidnas.

Size

They tend to weigh about 10 to 15 pounds, or 2 to 7 kilograms. Echidnas are approximately 1 or 2 feet tall.

short-beaked-echidna-eating-termites

Diet

Echidnas eat ants, termites, and worms. To reach their prey, they use their long and sticky tongue to pick up their food. Their snout is especially important for eating, because they do not have a neck.

Habitat

The echidna lives in Australia, along with the surrounding islands, such as New Guinea, New Zealand, and Tasmania. They will live in various habitats from snow to desert. Usually, they tend to be found among rocks.

Predators and SurvivalEchidna crossing

Predators of this mammal include humans, eagles, and dingoes. The eagles swoop down and pick these small animals up as prey. For defense, the echidnas will curl into a ball and rest assured in its spikes for protection. They will also wedge itself among rocks or burrow underground to escape from danger.

Life Span

The echidna can live up to 40 years!

Breeding

Reproduction takPugglees place during July and August. The baby, known as a puggle, is in the womb for 14 days. The egg is then laid into the mothers’ pouch. After 10 days, the egg hatches. The puggle becomes independent after 1 year and is finished weaning at 7 months. Occasionally, a mother will have 2 or 3 eggs. But most of the time, there is only 1. The puggle develops spikes after about 50 days.

Species Survival Status

The IUCN Red List labels the echidna as “Least Concern” on the endangerment scale.

Fast Fun Facts

  • The echidna was named after a monster from Greek mythology.
  • Echidnas are the oldest living mammal alive today.
  • The Australian five cent coin has an echidna on one side.
  • They are the only other mammal that lays eggs, besides the platypus.
  • Echidnas have the lowest body temperature than any other mammal.
  • The echidna does not have teats. Instead, the milk is secreted from the mothers’ skin for the puggle to drink.
  • Males and females look identical without careful examination.
  • Males will mate with female echidnas that are still in hibernation, so they wake up pregnant.

 Echidna Held in Hands

Sources:

Sign of the Times

Echidna A-Z Animals

NSW Environment

Wild Care Australia 

The Animal Files

Australian Coins

Victoria, Australia Zoo

Wired: Creature Feature

National Geographic: Spiky Baby Killers

Zoo Born’s: Bulldozer Can’t Stop Baby Echidna

Enchanted Learning: Echidna

Short Beaked Echidna – Kangaroo Island, AU

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s