Echidna Puggle Saved By Australian Zoo; Must See Video Of Cute Baby Beau [VIDEO]

By iScienceTimes Staff on October 25, 2012 4:37 PM EDT

Beau, the lovable puggle.
photo: youtube.com (Photo: YouTube)

An echidna puggle (the term for a baby echidna) is being cared for by the Taronga Wildlife Hospital outside Sydney, Australia and melting hearts across the Internet with its adorable face and cute little pot-belly. The echidna puggle was found on a hiking trail in Anna Bay and turned over to zoo officials. The echidna puggle is believed to be about 40-days-old and already has a nickname, "Beau."

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Taronga employees haven't seen an echidna puggle that young in more than 15 years, according to the zoo's blog. In the wild, female echidnas keep the puggles in the burrow for months and only venture out for food. Because echidnas are a unique type of mammal the mothers don't nurse their young with nipples, instead they secrete the milk into small puddles that the echidna puggles lap up through their elongated snouts. The blog describes Beau's feeding habits:

"Annabelle has to feed Beau from the palm of her hand, so it can lap milk as it would do in the wild. Once feeding, Beau resembles a mini vacuum cleaner, going back and forth making sure every drop of milk is sucked up - contributing to its ever growing belly."

In the wild, the echidna puggle's mother forages for ants and termites and produces milk like any other mammal. Echidnas have no teeth and instead grind food between their tongue and the bottom of their mouth. It will be several months before Beau the echidna puggle will be able to eat solid foods. Even then, it is doubtful that it will be eating live ants. The echidna at the San Diego Zoo eats a "milkshake" of ground-up leaf eater biscuits, dog kibble and water.

It will also take several months before the gender of Beau the echidna puggle is known. In the meantime, all Beau the echidna puggle needs to worry about is lapping up milk and spreading "oohs" and "ahhs" among everyone that sees it.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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