One, Two, Three, "Oooohhhh!"

My friend Sally has a job at at the moment which involves going out at dusk with a torch so that she and her colleagues can spot native wildlife living in an area which is about to have a 4-lane highway built through the middle. Sally and her colleagues then relocate the wildlife to a safe area not far away. Sometimes, though, attempts to relocate animals are only partially successful.

This little critter is a ‘puggle’, which is the word for a baby echidna. Sally estimates she’s about 4 months old now and she weighs just over 500gm. Sally found her mother on one of her twilight outings, with the puggle safe in her pouch but as sometimes happens, when the mother was disturbed she ejected the baby and subsequent attempts at reuniting them failed.

Sally has since been hand-rearing the baby (she has a licence to do so, just in case any of you are worried!), and yesterday I was privileged to be part of the evening feeding rituals. The photo quality isn’t great because it was dim light and I couldn’t use a flash…

The puggle currently eats about half a cup of warm milk with “native rodent food” mixed in, which I think is basically crushed dried ants/beetles/worms which reconstitutes itself from a coarse powder into a sludge in the milk! They don’t have teeth, as such, but a series of bony plates and ridges inside their mouths against which I guess they grind up their food.

I have to say it was a very cute baby: very sleepy to begin with and it wouldn’t uncurl but eventually one back leg appeared and did some scratching, followed by the other back leg for a scratch on the other side. Finally a nose appeared, some very mole-like front feet and a tiny tongue. It had a little walk on the grass outside, went to the toilet, and then got on with dinner before curling itself back into a spiny ball and going to sleep.

7 thoughts on “One, Two, Three, "Oooohhhh!"

  1. oh my goodness! I've NEVER seen a baby echidna….. and only on a couple of occasions have I spied an adult here at the creek (I've seen a few beside the road….. and a few splattered ON the road but that's mostly it)

    they are too cute for words! (sad that its mum didn't seem to think so….)

    lucky you to get up close and personal – and thanks for sharing the gorgeous pics! I love it! (do you think if I'm very good santa might bring a few more echidnas to live here?)

  2. What a beautiful photographic story just before Christmas. Very much Oooohhh stuff. Happy Christmas to you and your family and I hope you have a wonderful new year. Carol xx

  3. I love the name 'puggle' as much as I love the baby itself. Your friend is obviously passionate about what she is doing. Good on her. Have a great Christmas Sara – we're in the midst of the usual winter snow chaos here in the UK so you're not missing much! Have a good one. Lesley.

  4. very gorgeous Sara – and who'd have thought 'puggle' was a real word!?!?!?! How very special. Best wishes for a safe, happy, healthy Christmas time – I won't bother wishing you a dry one!

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