*Echidna* Werribee Open Range Zoo - Vic. by EdsMum

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Echidnas are small, solitary mammals3 covered with coarse hair and spines. Superficially, they resemble the anteaters of South America and other spiny mammals such as hedgehogs and porcupines. They have elongated and slender snouts which function as both mouth and nose. Like the platypus, they are equipped with electro-sensors, but while the platypus has 40,000 electro-receptors on its bill, the long-billed Echidna has only 2,000, and the short-billed Echidna, which lives in a drier environment, has no more than 400 located at the tip of its snout.4 They have very short, strong limbs with large claws, and are powerful diggers. Echidnas have tiny mouths and toothless jaws. The Echidna feeds by tearing open soft logs, anthills and the like, and using its long, sticky tongue, which protrudes from its snout, to collect prey. The short-beaked Echidna’s diet consists largely of ants and termites, while the Zaglossus species typically eats worms and insect larvae.5

Long-beaked Echidnas have sharp, tiny spines on their tongues that help capture their prey.5

Echidnas and the Platypus are the only egg-laying mammals, known as monotremes. The female lays a single soft-shelled, leathery egg 22 days after mating, and deposits it directly into her pouch. Hatching takes place after 10 days; the young Echidna then sucks milk from the pores of the two milk patches (monotremes have no nipples) and remains in the pouch for 45 to 55 days,6 at which time it starts to develop spines. The mother digs a nursery burrow and deposits the young, returning every five days to suckle it until it is weaned at seven months.

Neocortex makes up half of the Echidna’s brain, compared to one-third of a human brain.7 Due to their low metabolism and accompanying stress resistance, Echidnas are long-lived for their size; the longest recorded lifespan for a captive Echidna is 50 years, with anecdotal accounts of wild individuals reaching 45 years.8 Contrary to previous research, the Echidna does enter REM sleep, but only when the ambient temperature is around 25°C (77°F). At temperatures of 15°C (59°F) and 28°C (~82°F), REM sleep is suppressed.9

Male Echidnas have non-venomous spurs on the hind feet.10

We had Echidnas on our farm and they dug holes around the wall of the dam to sleep in when overheated.

Nikon Coolpix 500

Dedicated to all endangered species


echidna, spiny, snout, small, mammal, egg laying australia new guinea

please don’t pin my work without my permission

My Life has been interesting, always active in sports – Golf, Swimming & horses, now I have a camera, I wish I had found photography a lot earlier than I did, wonderful things you see through the lens a whole new life has opened the door to me. Make the most of each day, for you live it only once. Thank you to all who will visit my site & leave comments. I wish you all a beautiful day…..Shirley – 85 going on a 100

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  • Susie Peek
    Susie Peek8 months ago

    Lovely capture Shirley ~ great info too :)

  • Thank you Susie, it is a delightful animal to watch, we left them alone and they would come and go…Shirley

    – EdsMum

  • missmoneypenny
    missmoneypenny8 months ago

    My daughter saw one of those in the wild on her travels – nice capture Shirley

  • That would have been a good viewing, they are placid animals usually – Shirley

    – EdsMum

  • Warren  Patten
    Warren Patten8 months ago

    Beautiful capture Shirley..have a nice weekend my friend.x

  • Hi Warren and many thanks for coming by – appreciate visit – Shirley

    – EdsMum

  • AnnDixon
    AnnDixon8 months ago

    Natures Paintbrush Group
    Beautiful Work, he is spiky but he/she is still cute,
    hugs Ann xox

  • Dear Ann, thanks for coming by – hope all is well- Shirley

    – EdsMum

  • vigor
    vigor8 months ago

    I love all the unusual marsupials you have in your country, what a cute little guy!

  • We certainly have a few Viv but this one is slightly different and like the platypus…Shirley

    – EdsMum

  • Ana Belaj
    Ana Belaj8 months ago
    What a cute little guy!perfect work!
  • Thank you so much Anna for coming by – Shirley

    – EdsMum

  • Margaret Stanton
    Margaret Stanton8 months ago

    Great capture Shirley – looks like he’s sitting upright.

  • Squatting and he was so easy to take – Shirley

    – EdsMum

  • paintingsheep
    paintingsheep8 months ago

    Thank you for adding this wonderful image to IWP!! Gena

  • Thank you Gena – Shirley

    – EdsMum

  • vigor
    vigor8 months ago

    It looks like our porcupine, heaven forbid if you get the quills in ya!

  • Thanks Viv, much the same I think Except our Echidna lays eggs the puts the baby in her pouch where it is fed.. Shirley

    – EdsMum

  • kathrynsgallery
    kathrynsgallery8 months ago

    Ah, so cute! Like our hedgehogs they are fun to watch, but not to touch. Great capture!

  • Thank you for coming by Kathryn – Shirley

    – EdsMum

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