Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: June 30, 2020 1:23 pm
For the first time in their history San Diego Global has welcomed an echidna puggle (baby) to its family. The puggle is estimated to have hatched on February 14th 2020. The gender of the puggle is yet to be determined.
The mother and father of the puggle are known as Orange and Shaw respectively.
“We are thrilled and excited to welcome our first-ever echidna puggle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park,” said Savanna Smith, wildlife care specialist, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Echidna births are incredibly rare in human care making this birth even more special.
These animals are unique as one of the world’s two monotreme species. This means they are mammals which will lay eggs.“It is an honor to care for this little one, as we learn more about this species’ reproduction through this puggle’s hatching. Mom and puggle are doing extremely well, and we will continue to monitor the puggle’s progress until it is ready to venture out on its own,” added Smith.
Photo Credit: Ken Bohn/ San Diego Zoo Global
Short beaked echidnas typically come together only to breed. Prior to mating a group of males will follow the female until one wins mating rights.
The eggs are laid four weeks after mating and are as small as a grape. This is laid in to the pouch on her belly where it incubates for 7-10 days before hatching. At birth they are smaller than a jellybean. Unlike other animals which have a teat the echidna excretes milk from special glands and the puggle laps this up.
Once they start to develop their spines the mother will place them in a burrow. Currently the puggle is spending most of its day in the burrow. Animal care staff check daily that it is developing well. It will be weaned at 6 to 7 months old and it is at this time it will start spending time on its own.
At present the echidna puggle is off display at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park but the adults are occasionally on display as animal ambassadors.
The short beaked echidna is considered common but their long beaked cousins are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Staff at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are hopeful this birth will allow them to learn more about the reproduction of the echidna which can be used to help prevent extinction of the long beaked echidnas.
Learn more about the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on their website – San Diego Zoo Safari Park Website
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