Four-year-old female echidna, Piggie, from National Trust Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary made headlines earlier this year when she was illegally removed from her enclosure one night in August.
Since her return, Piggie has settled back into her daily life so well the Sanctuary’s keepers were given a surprise when it was suspected she was pregnant! This was later confirmed with the laying of a single egg in her ‘pouch’ and the subsequent birth of her puggle (baby echidna).
Keepers are very pleased that Piggie has fully recovered from her stressful adventure earlier this year – the birth of the puggle is evidence of her full recovery, as echidnas will not typically reproduce if they are under duress.
The puggle hatched on 29 September, currently weighs 620grams and has just started to develop spines. Starting to look more like an adult echidna every day!
The Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus, meaning “quick tongue and spiny”) can be easily recognised by their distinctive, sharp spines which cover the upper half of their body. Hair also covers the body in between the spines. Weighing up to 6kg in weight, echidnas have short, powerful legs with long claws which make them very effective at digging. Their long beak and even longer tongue (about 18cm) are used for feeding.
The Short-beaked echidna can live in almost any habitat, with the only requirements being sufficient ground cover and a supply of ants and termites. Their diet makes them somewhat of a specialised feeder but they are well adapted to Australia’s varied climate.
Echidnas are shy creatures and if threatened will curl into a ball with their legs and snout tucked underneath and spines pointing outwards to deter predators.
Piggie’s puggle is winning over hearts already, and to celebrate the joyous birth, National Trust Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is be holding a naming competition via their Facebook Page for the public to participate in.
If you would like to be involved with helping our echidna program here at National Trust Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and assisting the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation care for injured echidnas, you can make a donation specifically to them! Simply follow the link below and select the option “Piggie’s mates” in the third step!