Who can resist a little puggle snuggle on a Friday (or on a Thursday if you’re in the Western Hemisphere!)? Adelaide Zoo would like to introduce you to its newest arrival, Kathari (cut-tree), which means ‘prickle’ in Ngarrindjeri language.
The eight-week-old Short-beaked Echidna was named by Senior Indigenous Conservation Officer, Leon ‘Scornzy’ Dodd.
Brookfield, Ill. — The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is happy to announce the hatching of a short-beaked echidna (pronounced ih·KID·nuh). The hatching of this baby echidna, which is called a puggle, is a first in the zoo’s history. Echidnas are very unique. They are one of only two mammal species (the duck-billed platypus is the other) that are in the order Monotremata, or mammals that lay eggs.
Weja was adopted by Taronga Veterinary Nurse Elizabeth McConnell, who has been caring for the little echidna at her home and regularly feeding it a special milk formula. Weja was named after the place where it was found, about six hours from Sydney in central NSW.
This week Weja and Liz reached an important milestone – Liz left Weja at the hospital overnight for the first time. Watch our interview footage with Liz to find out more. At the link below you will find this footage, as well as overlay of Weja now and also some gorgeous footage of the echidna as a tiny puggle when it first arrived. Please also see below for more information.
“I’m extremely happy with Weja’s progress over the last few months. It’s growing really lovely spines and fur, and it’s putting on weight,” says Taronga Veterinary Nurse, Elizabeth McConnell.
A tiny, short-beaked echidna puggle found alone and abandoned on a property in Weja, New South Wales, Australia, is being hand-raised at Sydney’s Taronga Wildlife Hospital.
Taronga Veterinary Nurse Liz McConnell has become the puggle’s dedicated surrogate mum. She takes the little echidna home at night and to work each morning in a makeshift burrow, fashioned from a climate-controlled esky.
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
Australia’s Perth Zoo has unveiled a spiky new addition: a Short-Beaked Echidna puggle.
Hatched in September last year, this is the second offspring for parents Chindi and Nyingarn, who were the world’s first zoo-born Echidnas to successfully breed in 2015. The first and second photos show the puggle at 69 days old. The remaining photos show the puggle at about six months old, looking more like a spiky adult Echidna.
Photo Credit: Perth Zoo (1,2); Alex Asbury (3,4,5)
The puggle, as baby Echidnas are called, is still growing its protective covering of spines and will remain off display in its nursery burrow for a few more months.
Weighing around 3.5 pounds, the puggle is the 10th Echidna since 2007 to successfully hatch at Perth Zoo. Perth Zoo is considered an expert in Echidna breeding, having significantly advanced global reproductive knowledge of these unusual egg- laying mammals.
Zoo keeper Katie Snushall said, “This species is notoriously difficult to breed, so to have not just one, but two puggles from zoo-born parents; and in consecutive years is a significant achievement.”
Known as monotremes, Echidnas and Platypus are the only mammals that lay eggs. These species are found only in Australia and New Guinea.
It takes about 10 days for a baby Echidna to hatch from the egg. It is then carried by its mother in a temporary pouch for the first two months until its spikes start to emerge, at which point the mother constructs a nursery burrow and places the puggle safely inside, returning only every two to six days to feed it.
Taronga Zoo is celebrating its first successful Short-beaked Echidna births in 29 years, with keepers monitoring the progress of three healthy Echidna babies born to three different mothers.
The puggles, as baby Echidnas are called, have just opened their eyes and begun to develop their characteristic spines in the safety and warmth of their nursery burrows in Taronga’s new Echidna breeding facility.
Photo Credit: Paul Fahy Echidnas are notoriously difficult to breed in human care, but keepers are pleased with the progress of the tiny trio and first-time mothers, Ganyi, Spike, and Pitpa.
Echidnas are one of only two Australian mammals that lay eggs (the other is the Platypus). The puggle hatches after 10 days and is carried around by its mother in a pouch-like skin fold for up to two months. Once the puggle starts to develop spines it is deposited in a specially-constructed nursery burrow and the mother returns to feed it every 3-6 days.
“All three mothers are doing an amazing job and tending to their puggles as needed. We have one mum, Spike, who is so attentive that she returns to feed her baby every second day,” said zoo keeper Suzie Lemon.
The three puggles all hatched in August. The youngest was born to mother Pitpa, who was the last Echidna born at Taronga in 1987.
“A great deal of mystery still surrounds this spiny species. Echidnas are quite elusive in the wild, so it’s hard to study their natural breeding behaviors,” said Suzie.
Suzie said the sudden success of Taronga’s Echidna breeding program could be attributed to the newly completed breeding facility, which was designed after extensive research and consultation with other zoos and wildlife parks. The facility includes insulated nest boxes to ensure the puggles remain warm and safe as they develop.
“A day in the puggle world consists of lots of sleeping. They can be buried up to 30cm deep in their burrow, so they’ll just sleep and use all their energy to grow and develop,” said Suzie.
Keepers have begun to weigh the puggles every three days to monitor their body condition and general development. The heaviest of the trio weighs over 500 grams, while the youngest weighs about 250 grams.
“This is a big step forward for Taronga. By monitoring the puggles so closely we’ve now got a good broad understanding of their growth cycle and development,” said Suzie.
Keepers have yet to choose names or determine the sexes of the three puggles, which won’t start to explore outside their burrows until early next year.
A baby Echidna is recovering at Australia’s Taronga Zoo after being seriously injured when its burrow was dug up by a bulldozer.
Photo Credit: Paul Fahy
Zoo keepers have taken on the role of surrogate mother to the baby Echidna, called a puggle, feeding it a special milk mixture from the palms of their hands.
The puggle was first brought to the zoo with a deep wound to the side of its body after its nursery burrow was accidentally dug up by a bulldozer in December.
Believed to have been just two months old when rescued, the Echidna required weeks of antibiotics, hand rearing and sleep in a temperature-controlled artificial burrow.
The puggle – which is still too young for keepers to determine its gender –has doubled in size since February. Dubbed ‘Newman’ after the Seinfeld character who shares its beady eyes, the puggle is finally feeding confidently.
Instead of having teats like other mammals, Echidnas have patches on their abdomen that excrete milk for their young to lap up. Newman now eats steadily for about 40 minutes at a time, stopping only to blow milk out its nose. As adults, Echidnas use their sticky tongues to slurp up ants and termites.
Echidnas belong to a group of egg-laying mammals called monotremes, which are found only in Australia and New Guinea. Their spiny coats are an effective defense against predators. If their spines aren’t enough to keep them safe, Echidnas use their powerful claws to dig themselves into the earth, disappearing like a sinking ship.
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.