Echidna Pictures

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Echidna Photos Showing This Mammal That Lays Eggs

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The short beaked Echidna, Tachyglossus aculeatus, also known as the spiny anteater, is a Monotreme, the order of mammals that lay eggs. There are only five extant species in this order - four species of echidna and the platypus. Echidnas eat termites, ants, and insect larvae and have the spiny body of a hedgehog and the narrow snout of an anteater, though they are closely related to neither. They are native to Australia and Papua New Guinea.

There are four species of echidna in existence today, with four extinct species known from fossil evidence. The extant species are the Western long-beaked echidna, the Eastern long-beaked echidna, Sir David's long-beaked echidna, and the short-beaked echidna. The short-beaked echidna is in the Genus Tachygossus, while the 3 long-beaked echidnas are all in the Genus Zaglossus. All Zaglossus echidna species are listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List, while the single Tachyglossus species is listed as Least Concern.

Echidnas have a small, toothless mouth at the end of their long snout which is adapted to eating ants and termites. Their short, strong legs are adapted to digging. They rip open rotting logs and anthills and capture the tiny bugs with their sticky tongues. Long-beaked echidnas also eat worms and larvae.

Echidnas, along with the platypus, are the only extant mammals that lay eggs. The male impregnates the female with a four-headed penis, using only one of the four heads at a time. The female lays a single egg, which is soft and leathery, and which is deposited into the mother's pouch. The baby is known as a puggle, and it laps milk from a milk patch, as echidnas lack nipples. The puggle stays in the mother's pouch for a month and half to two months, and exits when it has spines. Afterwards, the puggle lives in a burrow excavated by the mother. It occupies the burrow until it is weaned at 7 months.

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picture of an echidna

Picture of the short-beaked echidna, Tachyglossus aculeatus, the most widely distributed echidna, and one of only five species of egg laying mammals in the world. Australia.

Picture #: 061913



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