Echidna Facts

Echidna Facts
Echidna is a type of primitive mammals that belongs to the group of monotremes (mammals that lay eggs). Genus Echidna consists of two species: short-beaked echidna and long-beaked echidna. Short-beaked echidna inhabits Australia and New Guinea, while long-beaked lives only in the highlands of New Guinea. Echidna can be found in forests, scrublands, grasslands and woodlands. Echidna is very old animals: it co-existed on Earth together with dinosaurs. Long-beaked echidna is endangered species. Main threats to survival of echidna are habitat loss, fire, drought and road accidents.
Interesting Echidna Facts:
Echidna is small animal. It reaches 13.5 to 17.5 inches in length and 6.5 to 14.5 pounds in weight.
Body of echidna is covered with two types of hairs. Short hair acts like a fur which maintains the body temperature. Long hairs turn into spines which provide protection against predators.
Spines are made of keratin which is the same substance that builds human hair and nails. Spines are creamy in color and they can reach 2 inches in length.
Echidna has slender and elongated snout which serves as a nose and mouth at the same time.
Echidna has long, sticky tongue, used for catching of its favorite food: ants and termites. Besides that, echidna eats grubs, insect larvae and worms.
Echidna does not have teeth. Instead, it uses strong pads in the mouth to grind the food before it is swallowed.
Echidna is active both during the day and night. It can detect underground prey by using sense of smell and by recognizing electrical signals of the insect's body.
When the prey is detected, echidna digs a hole using sharp claws and pointed snout.
Main predators of echidna are dingoes, eagles, feral cats, foxes and Tasmanian devils. When faced with danger, echidna will curl in a ball or hide in a crevice. In both cases, it will expose its spines to prevent predators from eating it.
Echidna is very strong animal. It can lift the load that is double of its weight.
Echidna is very clever animal. It is smart almost like a domestic cat.
Echidnas mate during July and August. At the beginning of the mating season, female develops a pouch. 22 days after mating, female will lay one egg into the pouch. Ten days later, blind and hairless baby will hatch.
Unlike other mammals, echidna does not have nipples and mother feed her baby with milk that is coming from pores of two milk patches. Baby spends 45 days in the pouch, until its spines develop completely.
Baby echidna, also known as puggle, depends on the mother's milk even after it leaves the pouch. Puggle will remain hidden in the burrow and it will continue suckling until it reaches seven months of age.
Echidna can survive up to 50 years in captivity.

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