By Clara Batton Smith
The Prickly Puggle
A baby echidna is called a “puggle”. The puggle usually hatches about 10 days after Mom lays the egg. Born blind and hairless the puggle will stay in the pouch for around 4 weeks. When the puggle starts to grow fur and sharp spines it is time to move out of the pouch so she doesn’t hurt Mom. Echidnas have been known to live up to 49 years.
Dinner is Served
Echidnas have a long snout and a fantastic sense of smell which is important for sniffing out ants and termites. The snout is very sensitive and can feel the vibrations when ants are near. The echidna has sharp claws and strong fore arms which are very important when digging up dinner. A long sticky tongue is also very useful for sticking into the ground to pick up ants.
Echidna’s backs are covered with sharp spines similar to a hedgehog. If an echidna is scared she will dig into the ground and curl up into a tight ball so all that can be seen is the pointy spines. This is the main way echidnas protect themselves.
An Aussie Animal
Where can you find an echidna? Echidnas can be found all over Australia from the snowy mountains to the lush rainforest. The echidna is very adaptable to the surroundings and various weather conditions. While it’s probably not an echidna’s favorite past time they can even swim if they need to. Echidnas are a bit easier to spot than most Australian animals because echidnas are out and about in the nighttime and the daytime.
Echidnas may not be the most well known of the Australian animals but did get a little boost when “Millie the Echidna” became on the mascots for the 2000 Olympics Games in Sydney.
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About the Author
Clara Batton Smith grew up running around Jacksonville, Florida (barefoot whenever possible). After flirting with the idea of becoming an opera singer at University of Florida she switched her focus to the back of the stage with costume design. Clara pursued the theartre in Chicago, designing for various companies such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Children's Theatre and Billy Goat Factory Films. She fell in with a group of fabulous visual artists in the Chicago Artists' Collective and was fortunate enough to show her art besides these talented people throughout spaces in Illinois. Love moved Clara from Chicago to Melbourne, Australia where she lives with her wonderful husband and has become quite obsessed with koalas and other Australian wildlife.
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