I recently had a friend asking me what the background picture on my blog was. She wrote " it is not clear what it is... like sticks? animals? flowers? It is white but I didn't understand what it is ". I then told her it was the picture of an echidna and I then realized that I my as well explain here, briefly, what an echidna is.
Echidnas are, along with the platypus, the only existing animals of the monotreme family. What is a monotreme then? A monotreme is a mamal laying eggs and having a pouch like a marsupial; isn't it incredible?
The female will lay a soft shelled egg (kind of leathery like) twenty two days after mating and place it into her pouch, it will hatch ten days later. The little one will suck the milk directly from the pores of the two milk patches as the female don't have nipples. It will stay in the pouch about for about fifty days, that's when the spines start growing.
As you can see on the picture, his snout (both mouth and nose) is reminding of the one on the anteater, he feeds from insect that his long sticky tongue will suck into his toothless jaw and tiny mouth.
Even though they look like porcupines or hedgehogs but are not related at all. They are covered in both hair and spines and can roll themselves into a ball when in danger or, using their front paws dig a tunnel to get protected, the spikes remaining its only visible part. They can be seen both at night and day but will remain in the shade and cool during the warm season.
Echidnas are found in all of Oceania and have been know to live up to 50 years, they are about 45cm and an average of 5kgs. Its predators are feral dogs, feral cats, dingos and humans.
On top: Abilno echidna. Very rare, only one birth in 10 000.