australia flashback: short-beaked echidna

short-beaked echidna (tachyglossus aculeatus)

this short-beaked echidna (tachyglossus aculeatus) crossed our way near 90-mile beach. it kept going back and forth across the road at the blindest bend in kilometres. while generally afraid of me, it apparently felt very interested in my camera(s) and kept chasing my lens – a tremendous help when trying to lure it off street.

echidnas, or spiny ant-eaters, are peculiar little mammals that lay a single egg directly into their pouch. their young (called puggles) are fed via areolae – patches of skin that “sweat” milk – due to the lack of nipples. they also stand out with up to 40,000 electroreceptors on their bill, and the males’ highly unusual, four-headed penis.1

bonus picture: spine and fur close-up

short-beaked echidna (tachyglossus aculeatus) - spines and fur

fun to watch: true facts about baby echidnas

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