Echidna - Spiny Anteater

short beaked

Short-beaked Echidna


In Australia and New Guinea you can find one of the world's only monotremes or egg-laying mammals (the platypus is the other). They are sometimes called spiny ant-eaters and they look quite like hedgehogs or porcupines with their sharp spines. Some species appear more furry with their thick woolly hair than spiky and they have longer noses (or beaks) much longer than hedgehogs or porcupines do.

The beak is adapted for sticking into holes and rotting wood in order to get to their meals of insects and earthworms. Their acute sense of smell and hearing also aides in the hunt. There are both short and long beaked echidna. The long beaked are only in New Guinea.


spiny ones

All legs have five toes with one to three claws each. They can live to fifty years of age. They are solitary and very mobile, and active day and night, although they avoid the heat of the sun during the day. Mothers lay eggs straight into their own pouches where they remain for about ten days until they hatch. The offspring known as a "puggle" remains in the pouch for 50 days until it gets big enough to come out for a look at the world.



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