Common Name: Western Long-beaked Echidna

Scientific Name: Zaglossus bruijni

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Monotremata

Family: Tachyglossidae

Genus: Zaglossus

Species: Z. bruijni

1a.jpg

This echidna is a spiny mammal usually 14 to 30 inches long and it weights from 13 to 35 pounds. A very interesting fact about this animal is that it has not changed since prehistoric times. The echidna is usually brown with golden spikes and does have fur under its spikes. The echidnas identifying marks are its spines and its long nose. This Echidna is found in Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia.

 

Many people have not seen an echidna because it is an endangered animal. There are less than 300,000 echidnas in the wild although it has no natural predators. But they are hunted because they are a prized animal. Another reason they are endangered is the loss of habitat therefore, their population is shrinking.

 

Their only line of defense is its spines. When it is threatened it will roll up into a ball and wedge itself into a hole. Echidnas eat termites, earthworms, and other insects. This is where its long nose comes in handy. It uses it to raid termite colonies and lick them up with its sticky tongue. Echidnas mating season is in July. Echidnas lay 1 egg at a time which hatches ten days after the egg is laid. The baby echidna stays in its mother's pouch for 5-6 weeks because its spines haven't hardened. The baby feeds on milk for six months.

 

Author: Sammy A

Published: 02/2007

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaglossus_bruijnii animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/chordata/mammalia/monotremata.html http://www.ask.com/web?q=what+phylum+is+the+Echidna&qsrc=1&o=333&l=dir http://www.animalinfo.org/species/zaglbrui.htm http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-echidna.html http://www.comp.mq.edu.au/~mariam/papers/ht98/echidna.jpg Photo Credit: http://www.terrambiente.org/fauna/Mammiferi/monotremata/images/zaglosso-500.jpg