Cute Lil' Echidna Puggle Hatches at Sydney Zoo
Puggles. They're not just an adorable beagle and pug crossbreed: It's also the name used for baby echidnas! If you're not familiar with what exactly an echidna is, there's a fun new way to get acquainted, courtesy of the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia.
The zoo announced recently that they're the proud home of a brand new echidna, now 7 months old, born in its breeding facility to momma Gunyi. Echidnas, or spiny anteaters as they're sometimes called, are one of just five egg-laying mammal species in the world, according to the San Diego Zoo. (Four echidna species and one platypus species.) These reclusive monotremes, pronounced ih-KID-na, are commonly found across Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. They're considered one of the world's oldest surviving species.
They resemble hedgehogs thanks to the thick spines that cover most of their bodies. Fully grown echidnas can be between 10 and 13 pounds and—as their colloquial name suggests—their diets consist mostly of ants and termites.
"E-chid-dna not, this little puggle surprise has brought so much joy to our Australian Fauna Team," the Taronga zoo said in a Facebook post about the birth, employing the only Echidna-based pun in existence. "Estimated to be roughly 7 months old and weighing in at 1.7 kg, this little short-beaked echidna puggle is growing from strength to strength."
In the Facebook video, zookeeper Freya says the new puggle is still a bit shy but is beginning to exhibit actions you'd expect from wild echidnas, such as digging, breaking apart logs, and looking for food. The video adds that once she's been acclimated a bit more to the zookeepers and their activities, the puggle will be introduced into the enclosure with the other echidnas and put on display.
The zoo's post concludes by telling visitors to stay tuned for a name and gender reveal soon—even though the zookeeper defaults to feminine pronouns in the video. Either way, welcome, little one!