A mammal that lays eggs
This small mammal, about 50 cm long, is extraordinary! Along with the Platypus, it is part of the order of the monotremata, the only mammals that lay eggs. It is covered in fur and spines and can roll up into a ball like a hedgehog to protect itself.
After fertilization and gestation for 21 to 28 days, the female lays a rubbery-skinned egg which she places in her pouch. After 10 days, the egg hatches and her baby, which is 1.5 cm long and weighs just a few grams, attaches itself to an orifice in her pouch which secretes pink milk, very rich in iron. After three months, the young has to leave the pouch because its spines have grown. It continues to live with its mother for a few months, in a burrow.
The Short-beaked Echidna feeds only on ants and termites, which it reaches by ripping open their colonies using its powerful claws. It then catches hold of them very quickly using its long and sticky 18-cm long tongue. It is not a rare animal and so is not threatened.
- Name : Short-beaked Echidna
- Latin Name : Tachyglossus aculeatus
- Origin : Australia and South-East New Guinea
- IUCN Status : Endangered
- Cites : Annexe II