An adorable short-beaked echidna puggle is the one of the latest patients to be brought into the Taronga Wildlife Hospital and is now being hand raised after an interesting turn of events saw it requiring specialist care.
The puggle was brought into the Taronga Wildlife Hospital last month from the Central Coast after members of the public saw it drop about 4m to the ground from a tree where a raven and magpie were perched. The puggle had scratches and lacerations to its back so it’s suspected that it was taken from its burrow by a bird of prey before being dropped after proving an unsuccessful meal.
After arriving at the Taronga Wildlife Hospital, the puggle was assessed by a team of vets and vet nurses including x-rays, blood tests and a thorough look over, and thankfully deemed to be in surprisingly good health considering its ordeal.
Senior Keeper Sarah Male is now responsible for hand-raising the puggle. This includes second-daily feeds of a specially formulated echidna milk formula which the puggle laps off her palm followed by a bath. The puggle then returns to its makeshift burrow to sleep off the feed for 48hours before Sarah repeats the process all-over again.
“Despite its ordeal, this little puggle doing so well. Since arriving at the hospital its lacerations have almost completely healed, it’s putting on weight and is also starting to grow a thin layer of fur all of which are all promising signs.
“While the puggle is improving every day, it is still very young and in the wild would still be dependent on mum, so will require ongoing care for the next few months. I’ve hand-raised of lots of animals throughout the years at Taronga but such a young echidna puggle is a new experience for me,” said Male.
Echidnas are only one of two species of monotremes in the world, meaning they are unique mammals that lay eggs and also suckle their young. Sadly, it is not it is not uncommon for the Taronga Wildlife Hospital to care for echidnas as they come into contact with cars on the road or are attacked by domestic pets such as dogs and cats.
This puggle joins more than 1,400 native wildlife patients who are treated by specialist vets and vet nurses across Taronga’s hospitals in Sydney and Dubbo each year. The Taronga Wildlife Hospital is open 365 days a year providing care to an array of Australian. Help our hospital team continue to their vital work by donating to our Wildlife Recovery Appeal: taronga.org.au/wildlife-recovery