Raising Eddie the puggle

Meet Eddie, the orphaned baby echidna that Tim Faulkner, AG’s 2015 Conservationist of the Year, is hand rearing at home.
By AG STAFF January 7, 2016 Reading Time: < 1 Print this page

 

A LITTLE OVER two months ago, Eddie the puggle’s burrow was accidentally destroyed by an excavator on rural property, and his mother was nowhere to be found.

The property owners rescued Eddie and brought him to nearby Devil Ark, where he ended up in the hands of Tim Faulkner, General Manager of the Australian Reptile Park and 2015 AG Conservationist of the Year

“Echidnas are so unique to hand rear and unfamiliar,” says Tim who is hand-rearing Eddie in his home.

“Their body temperature is between 18-23 degrees and the mum only feeds the puggle once a week. Can you believe that considering they’re a mammal! So in two months I’ve only fed him eight times. He drinks a third of his bodyweight each feed and then goes into a torpid state until the next feed.”

Eddie has only learned to walk in the last few days, and in between feeds he can remain sleeping for days at a time. Tim feeds Eddie from his hand, because echidnas do not have teats. “Their mammary gland is behind a thin piece of shin and the puggle pushes it beak against the gland and milk expresses through it, kind of like how we sweat,” he explains. 

Tim encourages anyone who finds an abondoned or orphaned baby echidna, or puggle, to rescue them and contact organisations such as WIRES.

Tim expects Eddie will be ready for release into the wild in the next week or so.

 

Scroll down for a gallery of photos of Eddie the puggle.