Orphaned baby echidna warms hearts in Australia

Posted by Anita Froneman on 22 October 2020

A 10-week-old baby echidna was taken in by the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors after its mother was run over by a car. The veterinary hospital posted a picture of the adorable hatchling – called a puggle – sticking out its tongue and the internet went wild.

‘We’re here to interrupt your scrolling with the cutest patient at the #AustraliaZoo Wildlife Hospital – Rarity the echidna puggle! At less than 10 weeks old, he sadly became an orphan after his mum was hit by a car,’ the hospital said.

Orphaned baby echidna warms hearts in Australia

‘Echidnas are an incredibly fascinating species. Like the platypus, echidnas are monotremes, which means they lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young and do not have any teats. Females will lay a soft-shelled egg into their ‘pouch’. The hatchling, known as a puggle, feeds on milk secreted from pores on the female’s belly. Aren’t they amazing?!’ the post concluded.

The post has since garnered a massive 3,200 reactions and 2,800 shares.

Echidnas, also known as spiny anteaters, are native to Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. These anteaters have fallen prey to habitat loss.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

According to the San Diego Zoo Library, the short-beaked echidna is common and well-protected in Australia. However, long-beaked echidnas are experiencing drastic population declines and are at high risk of extinction.

Due to overhunting and habitat loss, long-beaked echidnas have experienced declines of at least 80% since the 1960s and are classified as Critically Endangered (IUCN).

Picture: Facebook/Australia Zoo WIldlife Warriors

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