Merv Shaw from Gobur rang me last Sunday night very worried about an unusual little animal he had found in his garden. It was, he discovered , an echidna puggle that had been wandering around his garden for the past few days . Merv searched everywhere but couldn’t find its mother. Concerned for its survival , Jenny & Merv took the baby echidna to the Heaven Wildlife Refuge near Yea . The Heaven sent this news item to the Herald Sun. They note briefly that “a man ” found it in his shed , which annoyed Merv because he had been looking after its survival for about 5 days as it roamed his garden in search of its mother and food. At first he thought it might have been a native mole because it had no spikes and was covered in thick black fur but when he picked it up the strong digging claws gave him the clue that it was an echidna. He couldn’t see the nose because it rolled into a tight ball.
Quotes from a ‘lady’ at the wildlife refuge: “It is very rare to find a puggle or have one come into care because their mums do such a good job hiding them that they are almost impossible to find. Its arrival at the Haven has generated much excitement amongst Wildlife Victoria carers. This puggle is probably five months old and weighs roughly 700gms. She is growing spines that will protect her when she grows up .”
“Female echidnas do not have teats and leak milk through their skin, To feed the puggle we have to pour echidna formula milk into the palm of a hand an let them lap it up. Mother echidnas lay an egg which hatches in her pouch . The baby is dependent on its mother for the first six months of its life. They hide their babies , usually in compost and leaf matter , and return to feed them every 4 to ten days. ”
I hope Nadine Jones at the Haven at Yea succeeds in raising “Pins” and releasing her back into Merv’s garden.