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.
They tend to weigh about 10 to 15 pounds, or 2 to 7 kilograms. Echidnas are approximately 1 or 2 feet tall.
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.
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 Survival
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.
The echidna can live up to 40 years!
Reproduction takes 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.