Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, is home to more than 350 different species of animals. Of the zoo’s more than 4,000 animals, there’s one tiny creature that has became an internet sensation, owing to how cute it is.
A rather popular video of a baby echidna drinking milk from a keeper’s hand has made its way on Twitter, instantly drawing scores of netizens to leave comments of an endearing nature.
While it’s easy to recognize echidnas in the zoo, this tiny one has yet to develop its spines, so one may not recognize it straight away as the long-snouted critter. The video uploaded by the zoo shows the tiny little thing slurping its daily bit of milk from a keeper’s hands.
In the short clip, the keeper refers to the baby echidna as a “puggle,” which is what baby echidnas and platypuses are called.
In the video, one of the zookeepers explains how this puggle came to be in their care. She explains that puggles will be left in the burrow once they are 10–15 days old. Then, their mother would only come back every couple of days to feed them.
Echidnas are the only Australian mammal to lay eggs, alongside the platypus. A female lays one egg, which is incubated in the pouch and then takes about 10 days to hatch.
Once it hatches, the puggle attaches itself to its mother’s mammary glands and stays warm in the pouch for three months. It develops strength and size in the process. It gets tiny spines at the end of the three months. Once it comes out of the pouch, these spines further develop. Echidnas live for about 10 years in the wild.
The keeper adds that this little puggle needs to be fed every two days. It drinks milk out of her hand because the mother doesn’t actually have teats. She also said that in order to keep the baby safe, she has been taking it home with her and keeping it in a small esky (a portable insulated container) to maintain the right temperature.
Watch the puggle here:
Photo Credit: Twitter Video Screenshot | CSIRO.