Echidnas and platypuses are the only surviving monotremes, an ancient order of egg-laying mammals. A female lays a single egg that she tucks into a primitive pouch—a fold of skin that holds the egg in place. After hatching, the baby stays in the pouch until it develops spines, then it is deposited into a burrow. Unlike marsupials, monotremes do not have nipples. The female secretes milk from ducts that are similar to sweat glands and the baby (called a puggle) laps the nourishment off her skin.
Sense and Scents-ability
Although echidnas have extremely poor eyesight and sense of smell, they have excellent hearing. Ears with large external openings and an internal bone structure allow them to detect the slightest vibrations, aiding in sensing danger and locating food.
Papua New Guinea, Tasmania, and Australia
Insectivorous, feeding primarily on termites and ants
- Length: 12–24 inches
- Weight: 12 pounds