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The Echidna (also known as the Spiny Anteater) is a primitive oviparous (egg-laying) mammal that lives in Australia and New Guinea; it is a monotreme. This solitary, burrowing animal has tough spines covering the top of its body. The echidna lives for over 50 years in captivity. When attacked, the echidna will quickly burrow in the ground or curl up in a ball.

Reproduction: Echidnas lay a single egg in a pouch on the female's belly. The egg has a leathery shell. The egg hatches in 10 days and the baby echidna is born blind and hairless. It gets milk from a gland within the mother's pouch. In a few weeks, the baby (called a puggle) develops sharp spines, and must leave the pouch.

Anatomy: The echidna has long spines protecting its body, long, sharp claws on the feet, and a very sensitive snout. There are two types of Echidnas, long-nosed and short-nosed. Echidnas are 14-39 inches (36-99 cm) long with a 4-inch (10 cm) long tail.

Diet: This insectivore (insect-eater) uses its long, sticky tongue to catch ants, termites, other insects, and earthworms.



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