The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has welcomed a baby echidna, or a puggle, for the first time in history. The puggle was born around 14 February, 2020 according to the Park’s press release.
Australia is known for its extraordinary wildlife. Echidnas are one of only two Australian mammals that lay eggs apart from the platypus. The press release said, “Echidnas are notoriously difficult to breed in managed care, so wildlife care specialists are extremely pleased with the progress of this puggle, whose sex has not yet been determined.”
Savanna Smith, a wildlife care specialist at the Safari Park said, “We are thrilled and excited to welcome our first-ever echidna puggle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It is an honor to care for this little one, as we learn more about this species’ reproduction through this puggle’s hatching. Mom and puggle are doing extremely well. And we will continue to monitor the puggle’s progress until it is ready to venture out on its own.”
The little puggle’s parents, Orange and Shaw, also live at the Park. According to Zoo officials, echidna’s only breed once a year. The baby echidna will remain out of public view until it is a little older. The puggle spends its time sleeping in a dark burrow, while its mother feeds the baby every three to six days.
Animal care specialists keep a check on the puggle and monitor its health to ensure it is getting proper nutrition. When the puggle hatched, it weighed less than an ounce. But now, the little animals weighs “just over a pound and measures about 6 inches in length.”
The San Diego Zoo hopes to save and conserve more species like the echidna in the future.