Echidna is the representative of the detachment of monotremes (together with echidna this includes the platypus). Individuals of the echidna family are oviparous mammals. This family consists of only two genera: the genus Echidne and the genus proehidne. Habitat – Australia, the islands of new Guinea and Tasmania. They prefer to settle areas characterized by a temperate or arid climate. At the same time they build their homes in parks, steppe places or forests.
Echids are terrestrial animals, their body length is eighty centimeters, and weight reaches ten kilograms. In food use termites and ants. The front part of the head is stretched, forms a “beak”, it is slightly upturned and occupies almost half of the length of the head. Eyes small. Although these animals are characterized by slowness, however, they swim well. Echidna have not so many natural enemies, which, of course, is due to the abundant number of needles.
е Echidna claws are adapted to perform different tasks.
For example, on the front paws the fingers of echidna are provided with curved claws, so necessary for these animals to harvest food – opening nests of termites and anthills. The longest claw of hind paws works like a comb.
Echids have a long tongue.
Long and sticky. Its length varies from fifteen to twenty-five centimeters. These features of the tongue of echidna serve them for the search and extraction of food. After the destruction of the anthill, the language is in use, in the back of which there is a large number of denticles. They, along with rigid palatine folds, grind the incoming food.
The thick skin of the viper is covered with needles.
Needles, the length of which reaches up to ten centimeters, are modified hairs. Only the belly is freed from needles. Needles are a means of protection. So, with a possible danger, these animals are buried, only the needles are visible on the surface of the earth.
Echids do not live in communities.
Each individual of this family protects its own territory (on it, echidna hunt). They are always cautious and slow. They live separately and secretly. As shelters use burrows, rotten stumps and logs, a variety of thickets. Echidna is very rarely seen during the day – they are active mainly at night.
Echids have sharp eyesight.
These animals are able to notice the slightest movements in the nearest neighborhood. In the event of a threat, they immediately close in the thickets, among the crevices (or simply burrow into the ground or sand).
With the arrival of spring, the vipers begin their breeding season.
After mating, the female lays only one egg, which is then placed in a specially designed bag on the belly. About two weeks the female wears an egg, for another three months – the youngest. He consumes the fat milk of his mother – and it lasts about six months, even after the change of the “living space” – he moves to the mother’s back.
Hunting for echidna is prohibited everywhere.
This is due to the fact that a large number of echidna individuals were destroyed by Australian aborigines (for the sake of needles and meat). To save these animals, hunting was prohibited on them. The International Red Book includes short-bitten echidna and long-billed echidna.