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1 pugglePhoto credit: Taronga Western Plains Zoo

A team of veterinary nurses at the wildlife hospital of Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Australia has been hand-raising and caring for an Echidna puggle over the last couple of months.

The baby Echidna was found on the road between Wellington and Dubbo. It is believed its mother was hit by a car, orphaning the puggle as a result. The puggle came into care at the Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital in early November and has been cared for by vet nurses ever since.

“The puggle is now approximately four months old and responding very well under the watchful eye of the vet nurses,” said vet nurse, Jodie Milton.

“It’s feeding well and gaining weight steadily, so we’ll be able to wean it in about three to four months’ time and start introducing it to solid food.”

The little puggle has also started to develop the species’ distinctive spines, leaving its team of dedicated vet nurses pleased with its development.

It is extremely rare to see an Echidna puggle, let alone raise one, because they live in their mother’s pouch for two to three months before moving into a secluded burrow for up to a year.

In the coming months the Echidna puggle will be transferred to Taronga Zoo in Sydney to join the Short-beaked Echidna breeding program at the Zoo.

“It will be some time before the puggle will be able to fend for itself, but until then it’s in safe hands,” said Jodie.