A video of an endangered animal being fed at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo has gone viral, with more than one million people from around the world seeing the echidna puggle being cared for by the zoo’s staff.
The video, which can be enjoyed by clicking on the link below, shows the echidna puggle being fed by Annabelle, a veterinary nurse at the zoo. At just 30 days old, the puggle was found on a walking track and is completely bald – completely different from the adult echidna, which is completely covered in spines.
May have fallen out of mother’s pouch
It shows the puggle sipping milk droplets out of the feeder’s hand, before being bathed and put into a portable cooler so that the optimal temperature can be retained. Rather than the mother having teats like other mammals, echidnas have milk patches that excrete milk for the young to lap up; it’s for this reason that Annabelle is seen in the video pouring the milk onto the palm of her hand. The keeper explains that while they aren’t sure how the puggle was abandoned, there is the possibility that it may have fallen out of its mother’s pouch.
Found only in Australia and New Guinea, echidnas are one of just four egg-laying mammals and, along with the platypus, are the only surviving monotreme species in the world. It is believed that they evolved between 20 and 50 million years ago and are descendants of an aquatic monotreme – despite them adapting to living on land.
While the puggle is likely to stay safely in hiding until it is around six or seven months old, it’s one of the many animals which you can admire during a visit to the zoo on your best places to see animals in Australia.
Video: Echidna puggle at Taronga Zoo
Image Credit: Ed Dunens (Flickr.com)