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The Newest Resident of the Perth Zoo

The above picture is of a baby echidna that was born in the Perth Zoo:

A baby echidna born at Perth Zoo will be closely watched as part of a research project to help save a separate endangered species of echidna found only in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Indonesia.

The 15cm puggle, named Jilba, was born on August 4 and appeared in public for the first time on Monday where it was weighed in at just 334 grams.

Jilba, whose sex will not become apparent until it is two years old, is only the ninth echidna born in captivity.

The spikey little creature’s mother, Kiltah, carried it around in her pouch for two months after birth before carefully placing it in their burrow earlier this month, where it will stay, suckling on its mother’s milk until the end of the year.

A video camera inside the burrow will constantly monitor Jilba to learn about puggle development and how female echidnas care for their young.  [The Age]

The echidna is one of Australia’s most unique animals that is similar to a porcupine, but is what is known as a monotreme.  The echidna and the platypus are the world’s only remaining monotremes who have the unique characteristic of being a mammal that lays eggs to reproduce.  Additionally both the echidna and the platypus have a poisonous phalange that really serves no purpose and is mostly harmless to humans. 

Hopefully this newest addition to the Perth Zoo will be able to help rebuild the echidna populations on Indonesia and New Guinea. 

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