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Off the Leash Off the Leash

Milestone echidna births at Australian zoo

Let’s be honest: they’re so funny-looking, they’re cute!

By Vetstreet Jan 4, 2013 4:07PM
The Perth Zoo is marking what it calls the world’s first successful breeding from zoo-born short-beaked echidnas.

Photo: Perth ZooTwo puggles were born to 4-year-old moms Mila and Chindi, who were both bred and born at the zoo. They were named Babbin and Nyingarm.

“Until now, it was believed female echidnas did not breed until the age of five so these latest births have shed new light on echidna reproduction,” said Environment Minister Bill Marmion. He hopes the “data gathered at Perth Zoo through video surveillance cameras, research and detailed record keeping is uncovering the secrets of echidna behavior and reproduction.”

More from Off the Leash: Cat survives 80-foot fall

Marmion also hopes that learning from short-beaked echidnas will help save the long-beaked echidna, which faces extinction in the wild.

Bing: More rare births in the news.

Weighing less than one gram each when they were hatched in August, and the puggles spent two months in their moms’ pouches until they moved into nursery burrows.

Officials at the Perth Zoo are keeping their fingers crossed the babies are boys as the last eight echidnas born there were girls. But they won’t have that information until they can do a DNA test on a hair sample.

Photo: Perth Zoo

More from Vetstreet:
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