The echidna is on the list of Australiana.
A particular native mammal is everywhere in Australia. It is the great adapter. The ubiquitous echidna is its name. The Short-beaked Echidna, Tachiglossus aculeatus, is even found in the Australian Alps. Like the anteater its has a long nose, but that is where the similarity ends. They both eat ants. The echidna has no teeth. In some ways it is like a hedgehog, using spines for defence.
They have developed a way of safe mating. The male digs a trench. The female get in as does the male. The male carefully lifts the female's tail and while lying on his side pushes his tail underneath her. No harm is done by the spines.
Offspring feed by licking up milk that oozes from the mother's milk patches. They do not have nipples. Babies are born without spines. The mother pushes them away when the spines begin to grow at seven weeks. She feeds on ants and continues to return every five days to feed the young.
◆ Australiana by Ty Buchanan ◆
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