**Welcome to Day 5 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge!**
What in the world is an echidna?
It has spikes, so is it related to the porcupine? No, its spikes are really just thick hairs that have fur in between.
How about a bird since it has a beak that acts as both nose and mouth? No, again.
Surely it is related to the kangaroo since it has a pouch? No, that's not right either.
It has a long tongue that goes in and out rather quickly and it eats termites and ants, so is it related to the anteater? The answer is negative again, although it has been called a spiny anteater because of its diet.
The echidna has something in common with the platypus in that both of these mammals lay eggs rather than bearing live young. They are the only two known mammals that do this.
The mother lays an egg about the size of a dime. Ten days later the baby, known as a puggle, hatches and goes into the mother's pouch where it stays for 50 weeks. During that time it grows its spikes. After that the mother transfers it to a burrow coming back to feed it every few days. There the baby stays until about seven months old.
Two types of echidna are the long-beaked and the short-beaked. Both kinds are found in New Guinea, but the short-beaked ones also live pretty much everywhere in Australia.
Depending on the species, the echidna range from 14 - 30 inches in size and weigh anywhere from a little over 5 to over 20 pounds.
*Information was gleaned from the following sources:
a-z animals, Wired, Animal Fact Guide, and San Diego Zoo Animals.