This little Echidna Puggle has been through a lot, even though she is less than two months old.

Last Sunday Melanie found the little Puggle in a paddock at Brooklet, she observed it for a while and searched for mum Echidna, but Mum was not around.
Melanie called WIRES and she was talked through how to contain the Puggle that by now had tried to dig into the soil in order to hide.
Melanie had a jumper in which she gently wrapped the Puggle, and she was advised to keep it cool, dark and quiet until a WIRES volunteer was able to reach her.
The Puggle, now named Jugoon, was in fairly good condition considering she should either had been in mums pouch, or safely tucked away deep in a burrow. However she did have an injury to her foot.

The female Echidna lays a single egg into her rudimentary pouch, about 10 days later the very tiny baby echidna hatches from the egg. It is about the size of a jelly bean and weighs approximately half a gram. The baby Echidna is called a Puggle and it suckles milk secreted from the specialised pores of the mammary glands inside mum’s temporary pouch. The Puggle is carried in the pouch until spines start to appear at around 50 days old, at which stage the Puggle is left in a deep burrow constructed by mum.

 

 

Little Jugoon has just started to grow her spines and likely would still have been in mums pouch, had she been in a burrow it is highly unlikely that she would have made her way out. We can only assume that something happened and mum has somehow dropped Jugoon.

The following day Jugoon was brought to Alstonville vet surgery by her WIRES volunteer carer Leoni. Jugoon was anesthetized and her foot injury was examined and treated by Dr Mike.

 
Now 5 days later Leoni said that Jugoon loves her special Echidna formula; she slurps it all up and has a drink of water after. She sleeps in a humidicrib that is specially altered to keep an animal cool rather than warm, just like the inside of a burrow dug deep into to soil.
Along with the Platypus, Echidna’s have the lowest body temperature of any mammal. Their normal body temperature is 33 degrees.
If you see an Echidna on the road please consider that Echidna’s cannot walk very fast, their normal speed is 1 kilometre per hour, if they are in a hurry they have a maximum speed of 2.3 kilometres per hour, not fast enough to get out of your way.
Right now female Echidna’s may be carrying a Puggle in her pouch, should you come across an injured Echidna please check the surrounding area for a little Puggle, it may be some distance away as they tend to roll along the ground like a little ball. They require specialsed care, please call WIRES straight away for advice on 1300 094 737.
Jugoon will be released in April 2022, that is the time when had she not lost her mum, she would have left her burrow, to start independent life in the wild.
 
Thank you Melanie for calling WIRES and thank you Alstonville Veterinary Hospital for always being there for our injured and orphaned wildlife.
 
Images by Leoni Byron-Jackson & Josef Kohlmetz

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *