Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Echidna / spiny Anteater is one of two primitive mammals that lay eggs / monotremes (the other one: Platypus). There are two types of echidna, short-billed echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) and long-billed echidna (Zaglossus bruijni).

Echidna is a nocturnal animal (more active at night), but sometimes like to come out during the day if the weather is not too hot, especially during cold season (winter). Echidna usually live solitary (alone). Although spiny, they are not of the hedgehog family.

Morphology & Description of Physical
Echidna has spines interspersed with long hair that covered his body. The function of these spines is as a protective shield / self defense tool. They are strong and short arms, equipped with 5 sharp claws on each arm. They use these claws to scratch the trunks of dead trees or dig up mounds of earth in order to find their favorite food: termites. Their long snout is used to detect the smell of food, predators, and other Echidna. In the snout have a long tongue (about 18 cm) which is very sticky, useful to capture termites & other insects. Echidna has no teeth at all, they often swallow their prey alive. Echidna adult size varies with body length between 30-55 cm, tail length of 7-9 cm, body weight between 3-6 pounds. Echidna adult males usually have a body weight of 6 kg, and the females 4.5 kg.

Echidna's diet are: ants, termites, grubs, and worms. At dinner that use their sticky tongues, is not uncommon to many impurities such as soil or wood crumb rub off. But all this dirt will be issued back in the form of feces.

Habitat and Distribution
Echidna can be found in Australia, New Guinea, and Tasmania. They can live almost in all types of habitats such as grasslands, forests, rocky areas, snowy mountains to sandy plains. At the time of cold weather, Echidna will do hibernation in order to stay alive. When the weather is extreme heat, Echidna refuge in burrows, in the crevice between rocks, or in the trunks of dead trees.

Echidna has few natural enemies such as the dingo, eagles, goanna, and foxes.

Life Cycle
Echidna mating season is between July and August. During that time, the mother developed a fold of skin and muscles, which form a pocket while that will be used to protect and carry her eggs. Echidna adult males have a penis with four heads.

Two weeks after mating, echidna will lay one egg in the soft folds of their skin.

The eggs will hatch after 10 days incubation period. Baby-sized echidna length of only 1.5 cm. Echidna Babies are born blind and bald. This baby will stay in the pocket and continue to suckle for 2 to 3 months.

Echidna does not have nipples, mother's milk will seep out in the skin of the mammary gland. And this is the seepage of water that will be inhaled by the baby. Echidna Babies have the ability to tremendous growth, they can increase body weight up to 500-fold in the first 45 days of life.

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