We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Echidna?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The echidna is the only known egg laying mammal aside from the platypus, to which it is somewhat related. They are both from the order Monotremata, though they are very different in type and behavior. There are four species of echidna, all residing in Australia and New Guinea. Three reside exclusive in New Guinea and belong to the Zaglossus genera. These are the Western Long-Beaked, the Sir David’s Long-Beaked and the Eastern Long-Beaked. The fourth species belongs to the tachyglossus genus and is the Short-Beaked Echidna, which resides throughout Australia and on New Guinea.

All species of echidna look like a cross between a hedgehog and an anteater, and are often referred to as spiny anteaters. The Short-Beaked is the smallest of the four species, but adapts well to a number of different environments. It can be found on snowy mountains, or through the arid regions of the Outback.

Size varies between individuals and species, yet a male echidna will have an average weight of approximately 13 pounds (5.89 kg), and the female will weigh about 10 pounds (4.53 kg). In length, the echidna is between 1 to 1.5 feet (30.48-45.72cm). Life span is exceptionally long, and may be as long as 50 years in captivity, or about 40 years in the wild.

The echidna is very unusual in its child-rearing techniques. The mother has a pouch, in which she will keep her newly laid egg. She will then keep the hatchling in the pouch until it begins to develop sharp spiny hair. The echidna does not have teats, but rather excretes milk from its mammary glands, that the newborn will simply lick off the mother’s belly. The baby echidna, called a puggle, will continue this unusual nursing until it is about a year old.

The mature echidna lives on a diet of small bugs, primarily ants, termites and worms. It is an exceptional digger with strong forepaws. Yet it is the frequent prey of dingoes and large eagles. Its only defense is to curl up into a ball or try to go underground, since it does not have any teeth with which to defend itself.

The echidna has a pronounced sense of smell and usually a wide territorial range. Echidnas tend to make their homes in logs and under thick bushes. They also tend to be solitary in nature, but use their noses to find mates during the mating season, which usually begins in July and ends in August.

Scientists are particularly excited about the Sir David’s Long-Beaked echidna, as it was thought to have become extinct some years past. However there have been new viewings of the animal. Efforts now lean toward being sure this, and other echidnas have sufficient habitat to survive.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All Things Nature contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a All Things Nature contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.