Echidna puggle on the road to recovery

By AG STAFF 20 April 2015
Reading Time: < 1 Print this page
After being accidentally struck and dug out of its burrow, a baby echidna is recovering well, thanks to the staff at Taronga

A BABY ECHIDNA is making a recovery at Taronga’s Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, after being injured by a bulldozer.

The puggle, which staff have called Newman, was accidentally dug up  at Coonamble, in central-western NSW and in the process received a deep gouge in its left side.

Thought to be only two months old when it was brought into the zoo, Newman the echidna is still too young to determine its sex.

Echinda puggle growing well

“It is still quite small for its age, but it has almost doubled in size since February and the wound has healed perfectly,” said Newman’s carer, Samantha Elton, who has been hand feeding the baby. 

Instead of having teats like other mammals, echidnas have patches on their abdomen that excrete milk for their young to lap up. Samantha has to feed Newman from the palm of her hand, so the puggle can lap milk as it would do in the wild.

“The feeding process was very stop-start at first, but now the puggle is like a little Hoover. It will drink constantly for about 40 minutes, only stopping to blow milk out its nose,” said Samantha.

Echidna mothers normally leave a puggle to fend for itself when its about 200 days old.